Her Sexiest Mistake


By Jill Shalvis

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ebook (Digital original)


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“Fall in love with Jill Shalvis. She’s my go-to read for humor and heart!”-Susan Mallery, New York Times bestselling author

Mia Appleby finally has the life she always wanted. She’s escaped her trailer trash childhood and built a nice life for herself with a marketing job and a cute, little condo. But no matter how much baggage she’s ditched from her past, she still hasn’t managed to shake her greatest weakness-men. So when her new neighbor turns out to be single and oh-so-sexy, Mia’s worried she’s playing with fire . . .

Kevin McKnight can’t get enough of his gorgeous neighbor, but after one amazing night, she’s already showing him the door. Something tells him this is the way she handles most men. But Kevin is far from your average guy-and he’s ready to prove it to Mia. When a blast from her past shakes up Mia’s life in a major way, will she stick with her self-sufficient solo act . . . or take a chance leaning on Kevin’s strong shoulders?


Chapter One

Advertising executive extraordinaire, Prada shopaholic, and all-around tough-as-steel LA Mia Appleby could put a good spin on anything, but waking up in the bed of a man when she'd only meant to admire his motorcycle wasn't one of those things.

Apparently, you could take the girl out of the trailer park, but you couldn't take the trailer park out of the girl. She hated that, but she'd long ago accepted it—in her avid appreciation of the male species, she was her mother's daughter.

Never a dip-her-head-in-the-sand type of woman, she faced the music. She opened her eyes, took in the pale pink June dawn streaking across the skylight above her, and blinked, which turned into an involuntary squeak of surprise when the view was suddenly hampered by a head.

A male head.

A gorgeously rumpled male head with sleepy, heavy-lidded light caramel eyes and a slow smile that had all sorts of wicked, naughty trouble in it.

God, she was a sucker for wicked, and with that bad-boy motorcycle of his and those let-me-do-you eyes, this man so fit the bill.

"Hey," he said in a rough morning voice that went with the dark stubbled jaw and bed hair as he slid his body over hers, pinning her to the mattress with his warm, hard torso and mile-long legs, which spread hers.

In spite of herself, her body tightened. No doubt, he was stop-the-presses hot. He had a body for sinning, of which they'd done plenty last night.

All night.

Oh, boy.

He'd moved into the neighborhood two days ago. His first night in town she'd welcomed him with a plate of cookies. The next night they'd pulled onto their street at the same time, she in her car, he on his motorcycle.


Wearing battered jeans and boots and a leather jacket.


Looking extremely tall and leanly muscled and full of mischief.

Check, check, check!

Instead of more cookies, she'd offered him a drink, which they'd shared at his place.

And then, because she'd had a shitty day, because she'd been feeling down and weak with it, because he'd looked as good as a long, tall drink of water, she'd given him a different welcome altogether: a horizontal one.

And it'd been spectacular.

Her job in advertising was high stress. Her life was high stress, and while she was very much on top of her universe, she occasionally felt the need to let go, to relax. Some people used Prozac. Mia didn't. She used other feel-good tactics, such as a good man, for instance. And sure, occasionally that meant a wild bout of mutually satisfying sex. Why not? It was immediate gratification, she enjoyed variety, and there were no calories involved.

Sure, it might have been a bad decision on her part that this man was now a neighbor and therefore on her home turf, but she couldn't resist. Besides, she'd intended to leave his bed before midnight, telling him that while he'd been fun, there'd be no repeats.

After all, she rarely repeated.

But then he'd kissed her again, and oh, God, was he good at that. And now he was looking at her, with that two-day growth on his lean jaw, with that bed-head hair that should have been so silly but she just wanted to sink her fingers into. Those melt-me eyes seemed to see right into her, a fact that rattled her enough that she pushed at his chest. "Move," she said.

He smiled and dipped his head, taking a playful nibble out of her throat, a lovely, sexy little nibble that had her eyes rolling into the back of her head and little zaps of sexual energy zinging all her happy spots.

Of which, apparently, she had many. "Get up," she repeated.

"I am up." He sucked a patch of her skin into his mouth as he nudged his up part against her.

In spite of herself, she clutched at him, enjoying the feel of his hard body against hers, his rough jaw brushing her skin, the scent of him…

Focus, Mia. "Listen, big guy, I have to work—"

His hand stroked up her body and cupped a breast.

Her bones dissolved. "Stop that—"

His thumb rasped over her nipple. "Mmm. I love your body."

And she loved the touch. Too much. Vaulting into action, she scrambled out from beneath him, rolling off the bed. When her feet hit the floor she whirled around, looking for her clothes, which had been wildly and carelessly scattered the night before. There was her tweed skirt on the floor, the matching top draped over a lamp. She stepped into the skirt, pulled on the top, slipped her feet into her heels. Her bra…where the hell was her bra?

"Here," he said, and she whipped around to face him.

He'd rolled onto his back and scooted up against the headboard, one arm up and behind his head. Man, oh man, she could have just looked at him all day.

Except that he was twirling her lace Wonderbra around his fingers, watching her with an expression of vast amusement.

The blankets were long gone, tumbled to the floor. The sheet, pale blue against his tanned skin, pooled low on his hips, not quite covering his EMH.

Early-Morning Hard-on.

She heard the words in Sugar's soft Southern drawl and shoved them ruthlessly to the back of her mind. After years of hard work, none of Mia's south showed, not an ounce of that trailer-trash upbringing. She'd made sure of it.

She snatched her bra from his fingers. "Thank you."

"My pleasure." His voice was still low and sleep-rough. From this close she could smell him, some uncomplicated mix of man and soap, but it was enough to have her nostrils quivering for more.

He shifted, and those six-pack abs she'd had so much fun touching last night rippled.

Oh, damn, he was something. If only the sheet wasn't tented, if only he'd show a single sign of wanting her to get out, this would be so much easier. She folded her bra and slipped it into her skirt pocket as she looked for her panties.

He let out a slow smile. "You fold your underwear?"

Forget her panties. She walked to the door.

"Hey, it's cute, that's all. A little uptight, maybe. But cute."

She reached for the handle.

"Ah, don't go. Let me get you some breakfast." He slid out of the bed and walked toward her in all his morning glory, and there was lots of glory.

"I don't eat breakfast."

"Everyone needs breakfast." His every movement was fluid and easy. Uncalculatedly sexy. Watching her thoughtfully from his deep, direct eyes, he grabbed his jeans off the floor and slid them on.

Sans underwear.

Fascinated in spite of herself, she watched. He pulled the jeans up, winced slightly, and then didn't fasten them, his wryly amused gaze meeting hers. The man was comfortable in his own skin, she'd give him that. As well he should be, because his skin, and everything beneath it, was damn fine.

She'd been with particularly fine men before, but she'd never experienced such a visceral spark. It felt different, too: close, a completely unexpected—and unwelcome—twist.

He was still watching her as he absently shoved his fingers through his short, rumpled hair. Scratched his chest.

"At least let me get you eggs, maybe some juice," he said. "Protein and sugar all in one. Breakfast of champions." He came close then, too close, lifting a hand, stroking a stray strand of hair from her face. "Last night…" He let out a low, rough laugh. "Pretty amazing, huh?"

Yeah, and so was he. "I've really got to go."

He cocked his head. "I thought you said you were from here. Born in LA."

She hadn't said "born here." She'd always been careful not to out-and-out lie. She'd said she belonged in LA. "Why?"

"Because I definitely heard a Southern drawl in that pretty voice of yours." He smiled.

She did not, because, wow, she'd stayed waaaaay too long if he was picking that up. How many years ago had she squashed that accent, and all that went with it, far, far into her past? Simply buried it beneath her carefully planned layers of college, jobs, hard work, sheer tenacity, and pure will? She was no longer poor little "Apple," a kid who had to settle, thank God, but a woman who had choices and a future that didn't include living in a crowded, broken-down mobile home full of stacks of bills that couldn't be paid. There'd been mistakes, too many to count, but she'd buried them and danced on their graves. She turned to the door.

Setting his hand on the wood above her head, he held the door closed. "Hey," he said quietly, wrapping his fingers around her arm and turning her to face him. "You okay?"

Sure. Just as soon as she got out of here and away from this man who instead of giving her a few hours of mindless oblivion made her think, made her remember where she'd come from, and she hated that. "I've really got to go."

Still looking at her, he slowly nodded. "I can see that. Mia…" He went to touch her again, another stroke of those fingers she knew now to be extremely talented, but this time she stepped back.

His expression as he studied her was bemused, and a little confused. As if maybe he'd never been walked away from before. And there in the swirling depths of those fathomless eyes was something else as well, something that she hadn't expected.


Oh, no. No, no, no, no. This had to be squashed. Now. Like a bug. "Listen," she said in her cool business voice, the one meant to send him scrambling away from her. "Last night was fun, we both got off, yadda yadda. But now it's the light of day and I have work. And you have to…" Damn. She had no idea. "Do something, too, I'm sure. So let's just both get on with it."

He nodded, watching her thoughtfully. "And the next time we see each other, we'll just forget it ever happened. Is that it?"

Right. Except there wouldn't be a next time.

"I live here now," he said. "On your street. We're going to run into each other. What do you expect us to do, pretend we've never met?"

Hey, it was a long street.

"My God," he said with a low laugh. "That's exactly what you expect."

"Look—" She racked her brain for his name. "Uh…"

He stared at her in disbelief. "You don't remember my name?"

When she only winced at this, he let out a low oath, stalked away, then whipped back. "Kevin," he said, no longer looking so laid-back or sleepy-eyed. "My name is Kevin."

"I'm sorry. I'm not very good at this."

"No, actually." Sinking his fingers into his hair, making the short, dark, silky strands stick straight up, he shook his head. "You're far better than you think."

"I meant at leaving."

"So did I." He opened the bedroom door for her, turning sideways for her to get by. The space was narrow, and her breast brushed his ribs. A shiver actually passed through her, startling her into stopping, into staring up into his eyes.

He didn't look away. Of course he didn't look away. He'd probably never run, never avoided or ducked an issue in his life. As opposed to her, who quit and ran far and fast whenever the going got tough.

His hand brushed her hip, and as her body was inexplicably aware of each place where they'd touched, her pulse leapt.

The beat stretched into a moment, until she was forced to pull air into her lungs. It sounded like a gasp, loud in the silent room.

Again his fingers brushed her hip, this time as if trying to soothe, but this time the touch had the opposite effect because she wanted to rip her clothes off again. This was bad, very bad—not only was there the awkwardness of realizing she still wanted him, but no doubt he could see that want.

And yet he didn't speak, didn't move, just stood there with his fingers barely grazing her hips.

"No," she said to his unspoken question, to her need, to every damn thing, and she pushed past him. "It wasn't that good."

"Oh, come on. You can do better than that."

Already halfway down the hall, she looked back. "Excuse me?"

He stood there propping up the doorjamb with his shoulder, bare-chested, barefooted, jeans low on his hips, his expression assuring he saw right through her. "I thought maybe you'd also want to slam my character in some way to make sure that I don't call you or try to pick up where we left off."

She struggled not to wince.

"Because that's what you'd like to do, right?" he pressed. "Piss me off so there's no chance in hell I'll want to be with you again?"

She opened her mouth, then slowly closed it again.

He just waited with the patience of a saint. A rough and rumpled gorgeous saint.

Or a teacher.

Yeah, she remembered now. He'd told her he was a teacher. A teacher in a leather jacket on a motorcycle. God, her hormones hadn't had a chance.

But they had one now. "Good-bye, Kevin."

"Remember my name," he called after her. "You're going to be saying it again."

Against her better judgment, she turned back one more time. "No. I won't."

He leaned there so negligently in that deceptively lazy pose. "So you felt nothing?"

She'd felt a hell of a lot of things, mostly mind-blowing lust, but it was the light of day now and in it all she felt was a desperate need to be gone. "Absolutely nothing."

"Liar," he chided softly.

Fine. She'd just do exactly as he'd accused her: make him glad to see her go. "Last night we both agreed that this was just a scratching of an itch, a one-time thing."

"Yes," he agreed with that maddening calm. "But that was before we mutually imploded in bed."

Oh, yeah they had, but she pulled a face and put some doubt in her voice. "I'd agree it was okaaaay," she said casually.

He dropped his arms to his sides and straightened from the door, his face incredulous. "You were every bit as into it as I was, and I have the ten fingernail marks embedded in my ass to prove it. And a bite mark on my shoulder. And a—"

"I said it was okay," she said through her teeth. What was he doing? Why wasn't he getting mad? Why was she now mad?

He looked at her, his eyes suddenly narrowing in suspicion. "Why don't you tell me what part didn't work for you."


"I can take it."

She smiled tightly because now she was going to incinerate him. "Don't say I didn't warn you."

He spread his hands out at his sides. "Give me your worst."

Walking toward him, she lifted a finger. "You have stinky feet."

Not true, but she'd wanted to list a fault. Only problem, Kevin hadn't exhibited any. Not that he didn't have them—all men had them—she just didn't know his yet.

And wouldn't ever know.

He laughed. "I do not have stinky—"

She put up another finger. "You have snoring issues."

"What? That's crazy. I don't—"

"And, three—"

"There's three?"

"Yes. Quite frankly…" She shrugged. "You're not that great in bed."

Again his gaze narrowed. "Not that great in bed."

She patted him on the shoulder, trying not to notice his warm skin or the hard sinew beneath. "I'm sorry to be the one to break it to you."

"Yeah. I can see you're pretty broken up about it." He scratched his chest again, looking both bewildered and a little stunned.

And sexy as hell with it.

Definitely time to go. But just as she turned away, her eyes locked on her panties lying beneath his bed. Aha! Moving back into the room, she grabbed them, folding them as she had her bra, and added them to her pocket.

Kevin was watching her, just standing there in silence. She forced a smile. "I'll just be going now." More silence.

"Yeah. So…thanks for—"

"For being bad in bed?" he asked silkily.

"It's nothing personal, you know. Lots of men have no idea how to please a woman."

"If I was so bad, why did you come three times?"

"I faked them."

Cost of the bottle of wine they'd shared last night: $35. Cost of the cookies she'd bought the night before: $20. Cost of the expression on his face: priceless.

But he recovered quickly. "That's interesting, that faking-it business." He stalked back into the room and came close, that big, warm, strong body of his making hers yearn and burn. "Were you faking it when you begged me to—"

"Oh, no. No, no, no. I didn't beg."


"Really," she said to his smug and—damn it—now smiling face.

"Then what was"—and here he used a falsetto voice, mocking what she assumed was to be her as she'd come—"Oh, please, oh, pretty please, don't stop…There. God, yes, there—"

She snatched the pillow from his bed. It left her fingers and flung its way toward his smirking mug before she even became aware that she'd thrown it.

Catching it in midair, he smiled innocently. "What's the matter? Truth hurts?"

"You are impossible."

"Same goes, sweetheart."

Blind with annoyance, she whirled for the open door and plowed directly into a guy standing there.

Tall, dark-haired, and caramel-eyed, he looked like a younger version of Kevin, down to his matching mischievous come-get-me expression. Mortified at what he'd most likely just overheard, Mia didn't stick around for introductions but shoved past him and walked away.

Damn, she felt flustered. Stinky feet? Snoring? Is that the best she could do?

And as for being bad in bed…Ha! He'd been sensual, passionate, earthy…amazing. And as she let herself out his front door into the bright Southern California morning, the hazy red, smog-filled air a backdrop for the LA skyline in the valley below, she had to admit, he'd gotten to her.

Big-time. She stalked toward her house, the Glendale Hills all around her still lush and green from a late spring. Her leather T-strap Prada pumps sank into the wet grass with a little pop each step, the feeling reminding her of a very drenched Tennessee morning. Of being fourteen…


Even at fourteen, Mia had known her life wasn't a sitcom. People whispered about her older sister, about her momma, about their single-wide in Country Homes Trailer Estates, but mostly they whispered about her.

"Too hoity-toity."

"Thinks she's a fancy know-it-all."

Well, she had news. She did know it all, thank you very much. She eyed the faux Formica kitchen counter, the window lined with duct tape to keep out the mosquitoes, she listened to the drip, drip, drip of the kitchen sink, and she knew she was destined for better no matter what anyone—everyone—said.

While other girls her age listened to music and hung out wherever there were boys, Mia went to the library every day on her way home from school, gobbling up everything she could, much to her momma's mystified bewilderment.

There was a whole big world out there, and Mia wanted a piece of it.

Sitting at the kitchen table and fingering a crack in the veneer made when Momma's last boyfriend had thrown the iron at a cockroach, Mia dreamed about how different things would be when she grew up and left here. For one, she'd have mountains of money. She'd have a house with a tub for bathing and not for soaking clothes. She'd have walls thicker than paper-thin fake-wood paneling and a car that not only started every time but also didn't stall at stoplights. Oh, and leather seats.

She wanted real, soft, buttery leather seats.

"Apple!" This from her momma. Lynnette probably needed to be crammed, shoehorned, and zipped into her jeans for her date, a chore that Mia hated, so she pretended not to hear and instead opened her diary.

Notes for when I'm somebody, she wrote.

  1. Don't wear do-me red lipstick (like Momma). It smears and makes you look mean even when you're not. 
  2. Don't tease your hair higher than six inches (also like Momma). It looks like you're wearing a cat on your head. 
  3. Always wear high heels, because height makes a woman smart and powerful. 

Above all, Mia wanted to be smart.


And powerful.

"Apple, baby, get your ass in here. I can't zip!"

"Coming." With a sigh, she closed the diary and hid it in the fruit drawer of the fridge, where no one but her ever looked.

She could hear her momma and sister chattering in the bedroom, and she headed that way past the tiny spot they called a living room, with worn carpet and yellowing ceilings and secondhand furniture packed into it like sardines, every inch covered with knickknacks.

The bedroom was more of the same, stuff crammed into every square inch, with white lace everywhere because her mother had a love affair with lace. Her momma had never met a garage sale she hadn't loved.

Sugar was a chip off the old block and, at eighteen, looked it. She and Mia had never gotten along, but mostly that was Sugar's doing. She didn't like to share Momma, and whenever she could get away with it, she was as mean as possible to Mia.

"Why don't you just spray-paint those jeans on?" Sugar asked Momma, who leaned into the lace-lined mirror over her dresser to admire her makeup job, which looked as if it might have been applied with a spatula.

"I would if I could. Finally, Apple," Momma said and climbed onto the bed, stretching out on her back, her pants unzipped and gaped wide.

Mia reached for the zipper, Sugar tugged the pants as closed as she could get, which still left a good two-inch gap, while Momma sucked her body in. "Zip it up," she gasped.

When Mia got it, they all sagged back, breathing heavy from the exertion. Sugar eyed Momma's hair as she popped her gum with the frequency and velocity of an M-80. "You use an entire can of hairspray on that do?"

Momma carefully patted her teased-up-and-out, bottle-processed hair, which added nearly a foot to her height. "You know it."

They grinned at each other.

Mia sighed.

Sugar shot her a dirty look. "What's the matter?"

Mia knew better than to say. That would be like poking the bear. She still had the bruise marks on her arm from the last time she'd disagreed with Sugar. "Nothing."

Sugar went back to primping. She and Momma were getting ready to go to the monthly rec center barbeque. Tonight was extra special because there was a bunch of truckers in town for some big competition, and both Momma and Sugar had their eyes on a prize.

A prize with a steady job and benefits.

Momma's smile revealed a smear of lipstick. "Check out this color. Tastes like cherries. Somebody's going to ask me to marry him tonight."

Sugar laughed. "Looking like that, he's not going to ask you to marry him, he's going to ask you to f—"

Momma's hand slapped over Sugar's mouth. "Hey, not in front of Apple."

Sugar's mouth tightened at the reminder that there was a baby in the house that wasn't her.

Momma, oblivious, grinned at Mia. "Be good tonight, you hear? I'm going to get us a rich husband. Then you two can go to college."

Sugar laughed. "I'm going to get a rich husband of my own, thanks. Apple here, though, you might want to worry about." Sugar ran her gaze over Mia, a sneer on her painted lips. "I don't see her ever catching a man, not with that scrawny body and mousy brown hair."

"Leave her alone, Sugar," Momma said.

As for Mia, her eye began to twitch. She ignored Sugar. "I'm going to college, Momma. But on my grades. You don't need a husband."

Please don't get another husband.

Momma smiled and chucked Mia beneath the chin. "You're so sweet. How did you get so sweet? You ain't your father's child, that's for certain."

"Maybe she's the mailman's," Sugar said.

Momma smacked Sugar upside the head. Sugar rubbed the spot and said, "Jeez, just kidding. You gotta admit, she's a weirdo."

Momma stood up to primp in front of the mirror and began to sing "It's Raining Men."

Mia sighed. Momma loved men, all men, but mostly the kind that never stuck around—or if they did, you wished they hadn't.


  • "Top Pick! 4 1/2 Stars! Laughter is served in doses as generous as the chocolate the heroine relies on to get through the day. Readers will treasure each turn of the page and be sorry when this one is over."—RT Book Reviews on Forever and a Day
  • "4 Stars! Shalvis's latest Lucky Harbor novel is a winner-full of laughter, snark and a super-hot attraction between the main characters. Shalvis has painted a wonderful world, full of entertaining supporting characters and beautiful scenery."—RT Book Reviews on At Last
  • "4 Stars! Shalvis pens a tale rife with the three "H"s of romance: heat, heart and humor. LUCKY IN LOVE is a down-to-the-toes charmer..."—RT Book Reviews on Lucky in Love
  • "Readers will appreciate the steamy romance and eclectic cast of characters while rooting for the lovable heroine."—Publishers Weekly on Lucky in Love
  • "Another touching, funny, delectably sexy treat that will make fans glad it is the first of three back-to-back releases."—Library Journal on Lucky In Love
  • "Shalvis makes me laugh, makes me cry, makes me sigh with pure pleasure."—Susan Andersen, New York Times bestselling author of Playing Dirty
  • "Count on Jill Shalvis for a witty, steamy, unputdownable love story."—Robyn Carr, New York Times bestselling author of Harvest Moon
  • "Heartwarming and sexy...an abundance of chemistry, smoldering romance, and hilarious sisterly antics."—Publishers Weekly on Simply Irresistible
  • "Jill Shalvis is a total original! It doesn't get any better."—Suzanne Forster, New York Times bestselling author
  • "Ms. Shalvis characters leap off the page"—RT Book Reviews
  • "Shalvis writes with humor, heart, and sizzling heat!"—Carly Phillips, New York Times Bestselling Author

On Sale
Nov 5, 2013
Page Count
320 pages
Forever Yours

Jill Shalvis

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

Learn more about this author