With This Man


By Jodi Ellen Malpas

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Jesse Ward is back in the newest novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling This Man series!

“The raw emotion and vulnerability is breathtaking.” — RT Book Reviews

“Super steamy, emotionally intense” — Library Journal

Life is good for Jesse “The Lord” Ward. Perfect, actually. He still has the charm, he’s in great shape, and he still reduces his wife, Ava, to a pool of desire with a mere look. He’s in full control, just how he likes it.

But Jesse’s perfect world falls apart when a terrible accident lands Ava in the hospital with a life-threatening head injury. Devastated and angry, he feels like his entire existence hangs in the balance. He cannot survive without this woman’s love. So when she finally comes around, his shaking world begins to level out. But his nightmare doesn’t end there. It’s only just begun. Because his wife can’t remember the last sixteen years of her life. That’s all of him. All of their time together. He is a stranger to her.

Now Jesse must do whatever it takes to find her memories . . . and help her fall madly, passionately in love with him all over again.


Chapter 1

The pounding of my feet on the treadmill is rhythmic and comforting. The sound of Imagine Dragons’ “Believer” on my iPhone is muffled by the pulse throbbing in my ears. The hammering of my heart tells me I’m alive. Not that I need to run until I can’t feel my legs to achieve that anymore.

My pace increases, my breath beginning to become labored as my run turns into a sprint. Sweat is pouring down my bare chest as I watch the clock across the gym, eyeing the second hand slowly roll around the dial. Two more minutes. Keep the pace for two more minutes.

Yet when the time has ticked down and the machine automatically starts to slow, my legs do not. I smack my hand on the plus button to increase the pace again, my ego refusing to let me stop just yet. One more mile. I crank up the volume and sprint on for a while longer, pushing air steadily through my nose, roughly wiping away the sweat rolling down my forehead. Glancing down at the screen on the treadmill, I note my distance. Fifteen miles. Done.

I slam my fist on the button and let the machine work me down to a gentle jog, yanking the buds out of my ears and grabbing my T-shirt to wipe my wet face.

“You did it faster yesterday, you stubborn motherfucker.”

My feet slow to a stop and I brace my hands on the handles, dropping my head while I work to level out my breathing. “Fuck you,” I manage to wheeze, turning to face one of my oldest friends. John’s shit-eating grin, the one that displays his gold tooth to its fullest, makes me want to knock it out.

He chuckles, low and rumbling, throwing a towel at my chest. “Still not come to terms with it, then?”

Stepping down off the treadmill, I wipe my soaked chest before shoving the towel back at him. “No idea what you’re on about.” I’m lying. I know exactly what the bastard is on about, and I’m sick to fucking death of being wound up about it. I’m not even sure how it’s happened—where the time has gone. Because, Lord help me, I’m fifty this weekend. Fifty fucking years old. My ego is dented more each time I think about it.

I make my way over to the water cooler, John following behind.

“Fifty suits you.”

I roll my eyes as I grab a cup and shove it under the tap. “Did you want something?”

Another mild chuckle sounds from behind me as I glug down the water and turn to face the smug bastard. I don’t know what he’s so tickled pink about. John’s knocking on sixty, though you’d never know it. He’s still in prime shape, not that I’d ever tell him so.

“The new weight machines are arriving later.”

“You good to take care of that?” I ask, refilling my cup.

“No problem.”

“Thanks.” I glance around the gym floor of the health club I own, the space alive with music, sweat, and pounding hearts. Disciples’ “Daylight” is booming, adrenaline pumping, shouts of encouragement ringing out. Turns out I missed owning a club after all. Not the sex and the indulgence of The Manor, but the community, the social aspect, and the day-to-day running of a business. So I opened a new business, this one not so secret but still pretty exclusive. JW’s Fitness & Spa has gone from strength to strength since opening its doors six years ago.

“Where’s Ava?”

John takes my empty cup from my hand and tosses it in the bin before wandering away. “In the office.”

In the office? A smile spreads across my face as I take off across the gym, the thrumming of my pulse building again, except this time it’s dropped into my shorts.

My pace quickens, and I bowl into the office, my plan mastered…and screech to a halt when I find no Ava. I scowl at the empty space and pull my phone from my pocket, dialing her as I stalk toward the desk.

“Hey,” she answers, sounding a bit exasperated.

I don’t ask why. At this moment in time, I’m really not interested. “Where are you?” I drop down into the chair at her desk.

“In the spa.”

“You have three seconds to get your arse to your office,” I tell her, smirking a little when I hear her gasp.

“I’m all the way across the club.”

I shrug to myself. “Three,” I whisper, kicking my feet up onto her desk and relaxing back.

“Jesse, I’m trying to sort out a disagreement between staff.”

“Don’t care. Two.”

“Oh, for fuck’s sake.”

My jaw rolls with irritation. “You’ll pay for that. One.” The sound of her rushed steps seeps down the line, and I smile, victorious. “Ticktock,” I say casually, reaching down to rearrange my jutting cock.

“We’re at work.”

I scoff. “Wherever, whenever.” She knows that.

“You’re very demanding, Jesse Ward.” The huskiness of her voice forces me to inhale, deeply and controlled. Yes, she sometimes still runs away from me, but sometimes she runs to me. Like now. When she knows I’m charged and waiting in the office.

My eyes fall to the door, energy surging through me. Come on, baby. I hear her hustling down the corridor toward the office, and then the door swings open.

And there she is. My gorgeous wife. She looks no different from the day I met her. Sexy. Beautiful. The perfect mix of elegance and sass. “Zero, baby,” I murmur, cutting our call and tossing my phone on her desk.

A familiar shiver bumps its way up my spine, and I smile, taking in every fucking perfect inch of her. She places a hand on the door frame, leaning into it as she chews her lip, eyes full of delight. Delight at seeing me. Her husband. The man she loves. “Good day?” she asks.

“It’s better now,” I admit. “Are you going to make it even better?”

Her greedy stare drinks me in. I love it. I love how she can’t control her need to ogle me constantly, either. Yeah, so I’m fifty this weekend. So fucking what. I’ve still got it. I suddenly feel like the god she thinks I am. The god I know I am. “Well?” I prompt. She knows that there’s only one right answer to this question.

She shrugs, playing it cool. Such a waste of her time. And mine.

“Don’t play games with me, lady.”

“You love our games.”

“Not as much as I love being buried to the hilt inside you.” I drop my feet from the desk and stand. “You’re wasting valuable time. Come here.”

“Come get me.” She shuts the door behind her and flips the lock as I stalk forward, her eyes shining harder with each step I take. Her body tenses, preparing for my attack. Every nerve ending I have is alive and screaming for her. A swift dip and grab has her over my shoulder, and I’m on my way back to the desk.

She’s laughing, her palms sliding under the waistband of my shorts onto my arse. She squeezes, digging her nails into the flesh. “You’re all sweaty.”

I lay her on the desk and spread myself all over her, pinning her in place with one hand while sliding her dress up her body as she wriggles defiantly. Pointlessly. “Stop fighting me, baby,” I warn, pulling it up over her head and tossing the material aside before going for the knickers. I smile at the lace concealing her from me, reaching down with my mouth and taking the side between my teeth.

“Jesse!” she yells, head tossing back and forth, her body writhing.

I laugh under my breath. The play for power never gets old. “Who has the power?” I ask, ripping the material from her waist and spitting it out.

“You, you fucking control freak!”

“Watch your mouth!” I pull the cups of her bra down and shove my shorts down my thighs, freeing my raging hard-on.

Heavy eyes lift to mine as she sits up, takes hold of my cock, and executes a deadly stroke down the shaft. My torso folds, the sensation of her warm palm surrounding my flesh overwhelming. “Fuck, Ava,” I choke out, resting my hands on her shoulders, my chin dropped to my chest. “I’m sure I could chase the moon and catch it when you’re touching me.” I’m pretty sure I could do anything. I’m invincible, indestructible. Yet I’m so utterly vulnerable, too.

She lowers back down to the desk and arches, her breathing shallow, her face damp and flushed. The sight is out of this world, the sounds magic. “Fuck me,” she demands, impatient and eager. “Please, fuck me.”

“Watch your mouth, Ava,” I warn, taking her behind the knees and yanking her forward. “I have every intention of fucking you, wife. Hard. Fast.”

The wonderful heat of her pussy is pulling me in like a magnet. The burning need in me intensifies. “Oh, Jesus, baby.” I bend and kiss each nipple in turn before standing and ramming forward unforgivingly, panting like a motherfucker as she screams through the shock. It’s always as good as the first time.

Her hands fly up over her head to cling onto the side of the desk. “Oh God!”

I grit my teeth, withdrawing and driving forward. Hard.


“You like that, lady?”

“Harder,” she demands, her eyes wild. “Remind me.”

“Of what?”

“Anything.” She flexes her hips, egging me on. “Show me who has the power.”

My smile is wide and satisfied as I watch her waiting for me to do as she’s ordered. But I won’t. Not until she says those three magic words. I abruptly stop and hold still, buried deep in her warmth, waiting. “Say it,” I breathe, dropping my torso to hers and kissing the side of her mouth. “Give me what I want and I’ll give you want you want.”

Her face turns into mine, catching my lips sweetly. “I love you,” she mumbles around our rolling tongues. “So much.”

I smile against her lips and slowly push myself back up. “Hold on, baby.”

Her entire body goes rigid, bracing herself for it. I don’t hold back. Never will. I smash into her with brutal force over and over, spiking constant screams of ecstasy. It’s like music to my ears. But I want to see how much she wants me, so I withdraw and place my palms on her knees, pushing her legs back, completely exposing her glistening pussy. She’s throbbing. “Fucking beautiful,” I whisper in awe. I slowly reenter her, dropping my head back and finding my pace, driving forward, plunging deep, rolling hard. “Come on, baby,” I breathe, starting to sweat. “Find it.”

More yells. More panting. My senses are in chaos. The blood that charges into my cock nearly knocks me to my knees, my grip of Ava’s legs increasing as I thrust on. The signs of her impending orgasm are all there: wide, bright eyes and her fingers clawing into the wood. She’s going, and one look down at her amazing breasts has me going with her. My torso tenses and convulses, a shock wave of pleasure chasing through my body. It’s powerful. So fucking powerful. I come hard, shaking like a fucking leaf while Ava moans through her release, my fingers flexing on her knees. Good. Fucking. Lord.

“Shit,” she breathes, going lax, her head falling to the side, her eyes closing. “Fucking hell, Jesse.”

I release her knees and collapse onto her, making sure I remain tucked inside her, relishing in the consistent pulls of her walls around my surging dick. “Watch,” I pant. “Your.” Kissing her sweaty cheek, I relax all of my weight atop of her. “Mouth.”

“You’re good.”

“I know.”

“You’re a pighead.”

“I know.”

“I love you.”

I snuggle into her neck and sigh. “I know.”

Her arms come around my back and hug me tightly to her. I’m home. Contentment flourishes within me. “I need to go pick the kids up from school.”

“Hmmm…” I’m unable to muster any more strength to talk, let alone move. And then there’s a knock at the door, and I grumble, lazily pushing myself up from her desk. “Same time tomorrow?”

She grins as she wriggles off the desk and starts putting herself back together, my pout growing with every piece of her skin that she’s slowly covering. “Coming,” she calls to the door, slipping her dress over her head.

I tuck myself into my shorts and sit on the couch across the room. “You already came.”

She rolls her eyes at my cheeky grin and rushes to the door, having a quick faff with her hair before taking the handle. She’s wasting her time. Her cheeks are glowing, her whole being looking freshly fucked. She swings the door open, and I know immediately who’s on the other side when I see my wife’s shoulders rise and tense.

“Cherry,” Ava says flatly, turning on her heel and making her way back to her desk. She flashes me a look on her way, one that confirms what I already know. She doesn’t like Cherry.

According to my wife, the woman has the hots for me. I don’t know why this is news to Ava. Every woman has the hots for me. “I’m just going to get the twins.” Ava sweeps up her bag and throws it onto her shoulder. “What’s up?”

Cherry struts into the office and places a file on Ava’s desk. Her blond hair is twisted tightly into a bun high on her head, and her white shirt has a few too many buttons open, in my opinion. I’m not purposely looking. You just can’t help but notice.

“The membership reports you asked for.”

“Perfect. I’ll look at them tomorrow.” Ava makes her way to the door, casting her eyes over to me where I’m sprawled on the couch. “Walk me out.” It’s not a question.

I grin. My wife’s feeling all possessive. Getting up from the couch, I fetch my T-shirt from Ava’s desk and throw it on as I stride to the door. I don’t miss Cherry’s admiring stare as I pull the shirt down my torso, and neither does my wife.

“Let’s go.” I collect Ava and get us on our way before her claws come out.

“She fancies you,” she grumbles, wrapping an arm around my waist. “If she wasn’t so good at her job and I didn’t need her so much, she’d be gone.”

I laugh. “She’s not done anything wrong.”

“Yeah, she has. She looks at you.”

I tug my wife more firmly into my side. “You can’t trample staff for looking at me.”

“What would you do if a male employee looked at me like that?”

Heat. It’s instant in my veins, and it’s not the satisfying kind. My growl is automatic, and she laughs, breaking away from me when we make it to the bottom of the stairs in the reception area.

“I don’t think so, lady.” I yank her back and crowd her with my arms. “Don’t say shit that will make me crazy mad.” I slam my lips on hers and devour her for a few mind-spinning moments. “See you at home.” I bite her lip and pull away, smiling as I back up at her obvious daze. She’s forgotten where she was heading. “Go pick up the kids,” I remind her.

She shakes herself back to life and glances around the reception space. No one’s paying any attention. They all know how we operate. This isn’t just our normal anymore, it’s our staff’s normal. Has to be if they want to keep their jobs.

Off my wife goes, and I start counting down the minutes until I can go home and see my babies.

Chapter 2

As I ride my Ducati up the long driveway of our little manor, peace settles over me. Ava’s car is in its usual place, the boot open. Coming to a stop next to her Mini, I pull off my helmet and scan the filthy vehicle. The black paintwork looks dusty, dull, and old. “You don’t see dust on white,” I mutter to myself. “And you can get more shopping bags into a Range Rover.”

I may have forced the biggest, sturdiest vehicle on her one time, but she finally talked me around and got her faithful Mini back.

Ava appears at the front door, her steps faltering when she spots me by my bike. Holding her dark chocolate gaze, I rest my arse on the seat and my helmet on my lap, crossing my legs at the ankles. Well, isn’t this the best welcome home a man could ask for? I take my time to admire her. She still looks freshly fucked. “My lady,” I say, my tone automatically gravelly.

She brushes her hair over her shoulder. “My Lord.”

I find myself shifting to adjust my growing hard-on behind the fly of my leathers. Her restrained grin tells me she knows of the activity she’s spiked down there, and for a moment I consider once again how my wife must feel to know that she still, twelve years after we met, has this profound effect on me. I can’t get enough of her.

She sashays slowly down the steps, watching me closely until she gets to the rear of her car. Then she reaches in, accentuating the swell of her curvy arse, and pulls out a Tesco bag. “Put the bag down,” I tell her.

“Stop being so demanding.” She feigns a sigh and swivels on her heels, swaying her arse as she saunters up the steps with the shopping bag hanging from her fingers. “I have your children to feed.”

“And I have needs, lady,” I call, dumping my helmet on the seat of my bike and going in pursuit of her. “Ava!”

I hear her laugh as she disappears through the doorway, and when I land in the kitchen, I find her standing with the bag at her feet. I pull to a stop and watch as she bends down slowly, seductively, and pulls some items from the bag. I grin when she waggles a cheeky eyebrow at me and flashes two jars of peanut butter. “I might let you lick it off me.”

“Might let me?” I laugh, amused by her coyness. “Ava, you’ve been married to me for over a decade. Haven’t you learned yet?”

“I have the power,” she whispers, sliding the jars onto the worktop and pouting her full lips.

I find myself doubling over to stop my cock from breaking free of my leathers. “Ava, unless now is a good time to bend you over the worktop and fuck you blind, don’t be teasing me.” Jesus, I’ve had to control where I can take her since the twins were born. My willpower is wearing thin. Maybe it’s my age. I shake that thought quickly away before it has a chance to ruin my mood.

“You need to talk to Maddie.” Ava’s statement comes from nowhere.

I scoff. Nope. No way, because I know exactly what my eleven-year-old daughter wants to talk about. “I’m not going over it again, Ava. End of.”

“You need to learn how to deal with her before she divorces us.”

“I know how to deal with her.” I cough indignantly.

“Locking her in her room isn’t dealing with her.”

I scowl. “Don’t exaggerate.”

Ava laughs. It’s condescending. She better wind her neck in or she’ll be heading for a Retribution Fuck. “You threatened it just the other day.”

I can’t believe that I have to explain myself for the hundredth time. “Ava, she had on a pair of denim shorts that would have fit a Barbie doll. And she plans on going to the school party in them?” I laugh at the thought. “It isn’t happening. Not while I’m alive.”

My wife rolls her eyes. “They weren’t that bad.”

“She’s eleven!”

“She’s becoming a young lady.”

“She’s becoming a pain in my fucking arse, that’s what she’s becoming.” Or a bigger one.

“You’re being way over the top, Jesse.”

Over the top? I don’t think I am at all. “Ava, last week when I picked her up, some dirty little pervert was practically drooling over her as she walked from the school gates to my car.” I feel the blood begin to boil in my veins, just recalling the incident. Had a fucking traffic warden not moved me from the restricted parking zone, I would have been out of my car and across the street faster than a roadrunner.

She smirks at me. “A dirty little pervert?”

“Yes. He’s lucky I didn’t shove his head down his pants so he couldn’t ogle my daughter.”

“And how old was this dirty little pervert?”

“I don’t know.” I brush her question aside, knowing exactly where we’re heading here.

“I do.” Ava laughs again, half-amused, half-exasperated. “He’s eleven, Jesse. Just like Maddie. His name is Kyle and he’s in Maddie’s class. He has a crush, that’s all.”

I snort and head for the fridge. “He’s a pervert,” I state with utter finality, daring her to continue the discussion as I rummage through the top shelf looking for my Sun-Pat peanut butter. But I should know my defiant little temptress by now. And she dares to continue.

“Jacob has a crush on a girl,” Ava says casually. I turn away from the fridge, seeing her collecting the jars of peanut butter off the counter and moving over to the cupboard. My boy has a crush? The only crush he has that I know of is a crush on football. The kid’s mad for it. “Does that make your boy a pervert?”

My lips twist as I return to the fridge and continue searching for my comfort food. “Why are you doing this?”

“Because our children are growing up and you need to let them do that. Maddie’s going to the school party, and you are not chaperoning her. It isn’t cool to take your dad.”

“She isn’t damn well going without me,” I snap, slamming the fridge door. “Where’s my fucking Sun-Pat?” I swing around and find my wife holding out a new jar, her eyebrows high and knowing.

I swipe it from her grasp without so much as a thank-you and whip off the lid. My finger goes in, sweeps around the edge, and I plunge the big dollop into my mouth, still scowling at my wife, who is now shaking her head in dismay. She can shake her head all she likes. My daughter isn’t going to the school party without me, and she definitely isn’t going in those denim shorts.

“Where is Maddie, anyway?” I ask Ava’s back, not missing the opportunity to relish the sight of her arse. That arse. I want to bite it.

“She’s waiting for her daddy to get home so she can butter him up.”

“Butter me up how?”

“Daddy!” Maddie’s squeal of delight—a totally fake squeal, it should be noted—stops my questioning in its tracks. Oh no. She called me Daddy. Not Dad. I just know the puppy-dog eyes are coming.

I do the wisest thing I can. I put down my peanut butter and edge out of the kitchen without making eye contact. I’ll be fucked. Screwed.

“I need to get changed.” I bomb out of the door, hearing Maddie in pursuit.

“Daddy, wait!”

“I have things to do,” I call behind me as I race up the stairs, catching a glimpse of her long chocolate hair bouncing over her shoulders as she chases after me. “Speak to Mum.”

“Mum said I needed to speak to you!”

I just make it to the top when I feel something around my ankle. “Fuck!” I lose my footing and trip up the top step, crashing down to the carpet in a heap.

“Daddy, watch your mouth!”

“Maddie, for crying out loud!”

“Then don’t run away from me, and face up to your responsibilities.”

“Excuse me?” I roll over to my back and sit up, finding my girl lying across the final few steps of the staircase, her small hand still wrapped around my ankle, her head tilted far back to look up at me. She’s already fluttering her lashes, the little minx. “My responsibilities?”

“Yes.” She releases my foot and pushes herself to her feet, and I only mildly register that she has on jeans and a jumper. Long jeans and a long-sleeved jumper. This should please me, yet it doesn’t. Because this is my little live wire of a daughter, and she’s a little fucker when she wants to be. Like, all the time. And like now when I know she’s only covered from top to toe because, in the words of her mother, she’s trying to butter me up. It won’t work.

Maddie sighs, shaking her head at me. “Dad—”

“Oh, so it’s Dad now, is it?”

Her jaw tightens, and she looks at me in a way that only her mother can rival. Like she could cut off my dick with her glare. “It’s not fair! All my friends are going, and their parents are okay with it. Why do you have to be the one to ruin all the fun?”


  • Malpas' writing is..spot-on with emotions."
    RT Book Reviews

"The raw emotion and vulnerability is breathtaking."—RT Book Reviews
    "The raw emotion and vulnerability is breathtaking."
    RT Book Reviews
  • "While Ava and Jesse work on her past memories, they also create some new ones, and it only adds to the story. Devoted fans of Jesse and Ava will eagerly devour every word from this book."
    Harlequin Junkie

    "This Man was a sexy, infuriating, wild ride. The back and forth in this book gave me whiplash"—TheBookListReviews.blogspot.com

    "You can't help but fall in love with these characters."


    "I couldn't tear myself away."
  • On Sale
    Mar 20, 2018
    Page Count
    496 pages

    Jodi Ellen Malpas

    About the Author

    #1 New York Times bestselling author Jodi Ellen Malpas was born and raised in  England, where she lives with her husband, her boys, and Theo the Doberman. She is a self-professed daydreamer and has a terrible weak spot for alpha males. After writing in secret for too long, Jodi exploded onto the scene in 2012 with her debut novel This Man, starring the prolific Jesse Ward.

    Writing powerful love stories with fierce, memorable characters is her passion–a passion that has taken her on an amazing journey into the limelight of romantic fiction. Her work is now published in more than twenty-five languages across the world.

    Learn more about this author