Tempted by Pleasure releases June 3…
Welcome to a game of risk and indiscretion.
The prize: a night of passion.
The price: your silence.
Nothing exciting happens to someone like me. I live between the lines, only dreaming about breaking the rules. My chance at love disappeared the night I left home to escape my old life.
Eight years later, I never expected that “old life” to resurface in my bookstore.
Foster Wagner is the type of man most women would crawl through fire or broken glass to possess. And judging by the way he’s staring, that danger goes both ways.
I’m in trouble.
Minutes later, when the car stops, I look up, surprised we’re in the parking lot of a gated condominium complex. “Wait,” I say before the driver gets out. “This isn’t a restaurant.”
He twists around. “No, ma’am, it’s not.”
“Mr. Wagner assured me we were meeting in a café, not in a private home.”
“This is the company condo, ma’am, complete with a private chef and ocean view.”
I find some comfort in knowing we won’t be alone. “All right.”
He gets out, then opens my door. He escorts me upstairs, knocking on the front door. I hear heavy footsteps and Foster answers wearing faded jeans and a Dallas Cowboys jersey. The bastard told me no jeans. I frown, but appreciate how good he looks in denim.
“Erin.” His lingering gaze makes me squirm. “Please, come in.”
I brush past him, eyeing the interior, curious what he’s planned. Sunshine fills the great room and the dining room table is situated along a wall of glass that offers the ocean view the driver mentioned. The table is set for two, and a bouquet, identical to the one Foster brought me yesterday, graces the center. I suck in a breath as I walk to the windows. No resteraunt downtown offers this kind of seascape. Although I live on Padre Island, two blocks from the beach, there’s something special about gazing across the water a dozen stories up.
“Time has been kind to you, Erin.”
I turn. Foster is standing behind me. “You told me not to wear jeans.”
“Sue me.” He shrugs. “I wanted to catch a look at those legs, baby.” He bites his fist.
“Legs are legs.”
“Au contraire. Yours are beautiful, like ivory pillars.”
Not original at all. I’m thinking Song of Solomon. His legs are like pillars of marble. Foster always knew how to sweet-talk his way into a girl’s heart, then between her legs. Seeing him grown up, just a bigger and more dangerous version of himself, makes me feel vulnerable. I can’t ignore his southern-boy charm or the fact that when he glides his tongue over his full lips I feel something. Warmth spreads up my body.
“What are you thinking, Erin?”
I feel the blood drain from my face. “How full of shit you really are.”
He palms my hip and I jerk away, catching his smirk.
“Relax,” he says. “I’m glad you’re here.” He steps forward, trapping me between the glass and his hulking frame. He slides a finger up my arm, evoking such a deep, violent shiver my sex clenches. “Are you hungry?”
Not for anything he has to offer. That’s a complete lie. I want to suck his tongue into my mouth. And if I had any courage, I’d take care of my little virginity problem right now. I don’t value my innocence like some women. I see it as a handicap. I’m a business owner, educated and cultured, world-travelled, and an extrovert. But I’ve never made love. And this man has the power to shut me down. Why?
He gently tugs me from the corner. “Want a drink?”
Wine will help you relax. “Please.”
He walks to the credenza and opens a door, retrieving two glasses. “I have a bottle of Lafleur open, or do you want something lighter?”
I’m accustomed to the finer things in life, but once I left home, I learned to budget. Foster seems to have no limitations. I accept the drink and take a tiny sip, tasting licorice and raspberry. “A simple red would have satisfied me.”
His permagrin stretches wider. “There’s nothing simple about you.”
“Saturating everything with sexual innuendo.”
“Can’t help it.” He moves to the table and pulls out a chair. “Join me?”
I feel safer sitting down. Every measured step he takes, every move, reminds me of a stalking panther. And at the moment, I’m his only prey.
“Tell me everything about yourself, Erin.”
He takes a long drink, then sets his glass aside. Our gazes meet, and I can’t resist admiring the incredibly thick lashes that frame his dark eyes—coffee bean brown with specks of gold if the sunlight hits them just so. Or if I were being less complimentary—shit brown.
I clear my throat, wondering where I should start. He altered my future drastically, gave me every reason to leave home. “After I graduated, I attended college at Texas A & M.”
“You know we missed each other. That’s where I did my undergrad.”
I’d heard rumors about him being around. Maybe that’s why I chose to study instead of socializing. “It’s a small world.”
“Too small.” He cradles my hand in his, massaging the soft flesh between my thumb and ring finger. “Feel it?”
“What?” The more disinterested I act, the quicker he’ll get the message. I hope.
“Want me to spell it out?”
“Stop imagining things, Foster.”
“Am I?” He caresses my neck.
As if on command, I sigh with pleasure.
He smirks and blows on his fingers. “Haven’t lost my touch.”
I roll my eyes. “Lunch.”
He leans back in his chair. “But I’m enjoying the conversation. I’ll change the subject if it will help you get more comfortable. Why a bookstore?”
“I majored in literature and always appreciated the classics. After Grandmother died, I decided to use my inheritance to invest in something I loved.”
“Is it profitable?”
“Depends on what your definition of success is. My store does better than most independently owned shops in South Texas. The publishing world is in flux. With the closure or downsizing of so many national chains, readers rely on small stores like mine.”
“And the name, Shakespeare’s Quill?”
“I’m fond of The Taming of the Shrew.”
He chuckles. “Didn’t you land that role in theatre freshman year?”
Feeling complimented, I say, “I can’t believe you remember that.”
“How could I forget? You were hot, but didn’t have a lick of acting talent.”
I punch his shoulder playfully. “That’s a horrible thing to say.”
“That red dress put you on my radar and half the football teams.”
I laugh so hard it hurts. “What about you, Mr. Peacock? Strutting around on the football field like you were God’s gift to the sport.”
“You had a mullet.”
“Bullshit.” He shoves his chair back and launches himself at me, his strong fingers digging into my sides, tickling too hard. “Mullet?”
“There’s proof. Glamor shots!” I practically scream.
“You still have that picture?”
“I-I . . .” Can’t breathe anymore. “I’m going to hyperventilate.”
He stops, and I slowly catch my breath.
“Where’s the photo?” His lips twitch.
“In my bottom drawer at my parents’ house.”
For a moment he’s quiet, studying me. He cracks another boyish grin, warming my insides. “Make sure it stays there or I’ll pay them a visit.”
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