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by Kelley Nyrae, Skylar Kade, Wanda Thomas
Description: Three stories about real women with curves and figures that make men drool. Cassidy Ryan in Kelley Nyrae's Trust Me (also available separately) considers herself a lot of woman with a lot of curves to love and proud of it. She's no pushover to Tristan Mitchel's total delight. Brought together after a blind date gone wrong, neither one knows the other will spark emotions that go way beyond anything they've ever felt before and challenge social ideas about the size of love. When Adam Jackson rescues Tamryn Jamison from a fiery car crash, neither knows how that one act of kindness will change their lives and their perceptions of beauty and love. Join Adam and Tamryn in Wanda Thomas' Indecent Behavior on a journey toward a love that will last a lifetime. Skylar Kade's Lawful Pleasures brings together Lia Delgado and Detective Dario Martoni when her home is broken into. The cute cop is determined to protect her from danger, but she's the one who has to protect her heart when he decides she's just the woman for him.
eBook Publisher: Parker Publishing, Inc./noire passion, 2010 2010
eBookwise Release Date: November 2010
10 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [456 KB]
Reading time: 303-425 min.
The jerk better hope he didn't show up tonight. Cassidy Ryan considered herself a pretty easy going person. Okay, maybe easy going wasn't quite the word, but she wasn't a quick trigger either. She was a kindergarten teacher for God's sake. She had patience, but leaving her sitting in the middle of the popular restaurant, Angelo's, for an hour on a Friday night without even the common courtesy of a phone call was too much to take.
If he showed now, he probably wouldn't leave fully intact. Actually, there was no probably about it. Not that she'd have to worry about that. Jack, John, whatever the hell his name is, wasn't going to show. She'd been stood up. After hours upon hours on the phone, after her best friend Tara finally made her agree to date some stupid guy who worked with her sister, he stood her up.
It wasn't as if she needed Jack/John to prove that one to her. She'd known it, which is what made her hold off for so long even though Tara's the one who wanted to set her up. Quite frankly, she was too much woman for some men. She had too many opinions, too much to say, and too much meat on her bones.
But she was happy. Most of the time at least, so men and Jack/John could kiss her--
"Excuse me, ma'am. The gentleman at the corner table over there wants to know if you'd like to join him."
Cassidy looked, followed the waiter's finger until she saw him. Tall, muscular, brown hair, business suit, cocky smile. Gorgeous. She had to give him that, with his sculpted jaw and not a speck of stubble in sight, but there's no way she was going to the table. What kind of idiot did he take her for? She'd obviously been stood up. Everyone in the place knew it, and showed the pity in their eyes.
No way was she taking a pity date from a man like that. "You can tell him I said no thanks, but I would like to order a bottle of Merlot. Also, you can go ahead and bring my menu out as well." She'd only ordered a glass of water and denied the menus while waiting for Jack/John, but hell, she wasn't waiting any longer. She also wasn't going to scurry away with her tail between her legs just because she got stood up, either.
She rarely went out and, since she was already there tonight, she damn sure planned on enjoying it.
The waiter nodded his head at her and headed straight for Mr. GQ in the corner. She gave him a sassy smile as she watched the waiter tell him she wouldn't be joining him. He raised his wine glass up to her. She did the same, still watching while he said something else to the waiter. They talked for a minute before he walked away from GQ.
Cassidy sat and waited while the waiter came back out, placing a second menu and a bottle of wine at GQ's table. He went and helped other patrons, going back and forth between the kitchen and the dining room, all the while, ignoring her. She tapped her foot, counting to five to calm down like she always told her kids in class to do. Maybe he forgot. Maybe he was busy. Maybe...she looked up at GQ and he gave her a mischievous wink.
At the same time her waiter walked by. "Excuse me. Is there a reason you're completely ignoring me tonight?"
He looked at her like she was crazy. "Excuse me?"
"I asked for a bottle of wine and a menu. You've helped everyone in your section except for me since then."
"I put your wine at the other table." He pointed to GQ's table.
Her blood pressure spiked. "Why would you do that? I told you I didn't want to join him for dinner."
The waiter stuttered. "But, he said you guys were here together. That this was just a little game you like to play," he wiggled his eye brows at her. "And that you really would be joining him."
Oh, oh, oh. This guy was in trouble.
"Are you going to get me in trouble, ma'am? I really need this job."
She waved her hand at him. "No, it's not your fault GQ is a jerk." Cassidy waved him off. The waiter, smart, ran away as she pushed to her feet and headed to his table. The closer she got the more gorgeous he became, and with each step she knew more and more that she had to stay away from this man. He had heartbreaker written all over him and, no matter how hard he pushed to get her to his table, she knew it wasn't her, per se he wanted. Out of all the women in Los Angeles, she wouldn't be the first choice of a guy like this.
"You're a jerk." She crossed her arms over her chest as she stood next to his table.
He looked up at her with a cocky smile. "So I've been told. Would you like to sit down? I have wine." He poured himself a glass.
"Hey, that's my wine!"
"Well, it's at my table. One might argue that makes it mine."
Oh, this guy had some nerve. "That's because you tricked the five-year-old waiter over there into thinking I was playing some kinky sex game with you."
"I never said it was a sex game. You came up with that one all on your own. I just thought since we were both alone, it would be nice to share our meal together. Maybe a little conversation along the way. What do you say?"
"I say you're a nutcase. You highjack my waiter and my wine and expect me to have dinner with you. You have another thing coming, GQ."
He laughed and the smooth, deep sound wrapped around her and settled in all the right places. Ugh, go figure. GQ had to turn her on. As if her night wasn't crappy enough.
She shrugged her shoulders. "If the suit fits..."
He laughed at her again. "I almost never say please, but I'm willing to say it right now if it will get you to eat dinner with me."
Cassidy stood there without saying a word. GQ looked at her expectantly, but still she just stood there. Finally, she spoke. "I didn't hear you say please. You said you're willing, but you never did it." The truth was she would probably end up sharing dinner with the man just because she enjoyed their banter. Her night sucked, might as well find some way to enjoy it.
"Point well made. Will you please share dinner with me, Ms..."
He stalled, obviously waiting for her to give her his name. She didn't. "No thank you. I'm going to take my wine and go back to my table." She reached for the bottle but he wouldn't let it go.
"I'm afraid your table as been spoken for. If you want your wine, you'll have to share it with me."
Her head snapped to the side to look at her table. Sure enough, it had been cleaned and a couple now sat at it. One, two, three, four, five. Still not calm, she tried it again. As she reached five again, her waiter approached the table.
"May I take your order?"
"Yeah, I'd like to order a table since you gave mine away!"
He looked at her a little confused again. "I thought this was part of the game! He said...you came over here... Please don't tell my boss, ma'am. This is only my second week here."
Of course she had to go and feel sorry for the kid. Cassidy gave him a smile. "You owe me good tables for life, kid." He smiled at her and walked away. "And you, I don't know what kind of game you're playing here, but I can promise you, I'm not an easy win."
He held up his wine glass to her and motioned for her to sit down. "I don't doubt it. I don't doubt it in the least."
* * * *
She completely fascinated him. Tristan wasn't sure what it was about her, but plainly put, she intrigued him. Being who he was, this didn't happen very often. He was wealthy, knew everyone there was to know in Los Angeles, hell in the United States. He worked for celebrities, heiresses. If they wanted a building designed they all came to Tristan Mitchell, and yet he'd never been as awed by someone as he was by the woman standing in front of him.
At first he hadn't known what it was about her. She wasn't exceptional looking, very pretty, but she wasn't any different than the women he saw every day. Wait, that was a lie. She wasn't the carbon-copy stick-figure as most of the women who ran in the circles he did. She had curves, generous ones. A real woman's body. Deep, emerald green eyes and smooth honey-colored skin. She was normal, except something about her was extraordinary.
He'd watched her sit at her table, confident with her head high when she'd obviously been stood up for a date. She'd ignored the whispers, the looks of pity as she'd sat there playing with the simple chain around her neck. Something about her drew him to her. He wasn't sure exactly what it was, but when she turned him down to join him at his table, his interest in her exploded.
Part of the reason he knew; Tristan was used to getting what he wanted, especially when it came to women. He'd always enjoyed that fact, but for some reason when she turned him down, something inside him went a little haywire. He'd smiled, somehow enjoying the fact that he'd been told no for the first time in God only knew how long.
Which was crazy. He knew that. What man liked to be told no? He sure as hell hadn't until this very night and he knew somehow or another, he had to know the woman. So he set about making it happen. "Are you going to sit down or should we enjoy our wine standing up?" he asked her. Fire erupted in her eyes, making him smile. She was feisty; he hadn't known how much he liked that until this minute.
"Well, I guess I have to since you high jacked my wine and made me lose my table. Don't let yourself believe I'm happy about it though."
Tristan poured her a glass. "I wouldn't dream of it." He set the bottle down. "You know, most women enjoy sharing a meal and a bottle of wine with me."
She rolled her eyes at him. "Yeah, well I'm not most women."
No, she wasn't. In a city full of carbon copies, this woman was unique. "I would agree with you there, Ms..."
"Ugh! Do we have to talk or can't we just kind of share a table and forget the other person is there. I'm mad at you, ya know?"
Tristan laughed. "Yes, you've made that very obvious to me, but no, we can't just sit here and ignore each other. I went through a lot of trouble and a large tip to the waiter to get you over here and I damn sure plan on at least knowing your name." Actually, he wouldn't be happy with just that. He wanted to know everything about her. He liked to understand things, and for the life of him, he couldn't figure her out.
"You paid that kid? He made me think he had no idea what was going on."
"Well he didn't, but I also know money gets you what you want, so I took out a little insurance policy that he would help me get you here." Her eyes widened to big green globes as she looked at him. He couldn't tell whether it was shock or anger he saw, but playing it safe, he changed the subject. "You still haven't given me your name. You see how determined I am when I want something. This night would go a whole lot easier if you just told me what it is now."
She sighed. "Cassidy Ryan, but I didn't tell you that because you wanted me to, Mr. Control Freak. I told you because I'm already getting a headache and I figure the more you badger me, the worse it will get. I just want my wine, my dinner and then to forget this night ever happened."
"Control Freak? I thought I was GQ?" Tristan couldn't help himself from smiling.
"You're both." Right as she finished the words, their waiter brought out the food she'd ordered while at her table. He'd paid to have his held off until her food arrived as well. After setting plates in front of them, he scurried off, obviously afraid of Cassidy's wrath. "I think you scared our waiter."
She looked up at him. "Smart kid." Then turned back to her plate and cut into her chicken.
Tristan watched her as she took small bites of her food, completely ignoring him. She completely ignored him as she began her meal. He automatically smiled. She was determined, this woman. Just as strong-willed as he. "So, do you want to know my name?"
Cassidy finished chewing her bite before she replied to him. "What does it matter if I want to know or not when you're going to tell me regardless?"
This time, a smile wouldn't do it. Tristan laughed loudly, feeling the vibration throughout his whole body. "Ms. Ryan, you quite possibly might be the most interesting woman I've ever met. You're right though, I would tell you regardless. I much prefer Tristan Mitchell to control freak or GQ."
Cassidy dropped her fork to the table and froze. A second later she got herself together enough to look at him. "Tristan Mitchell? Tristan freaking Mitchell?" her voice rose.
"No freaking. Just Tristan Mitchell."
She pushed to her feet. "Oh, I am so out of here."
Tristan was never caught off guard. She'd managed to do it multiple times in one night. He wasn't willing to let her out of his sight. Maybe it was the fact that he hadn't been laid in a really long time, or the fact that he'd has a shitty time at work lately, or hell, maybe it was the fact that when she looked at him, he felt like she was seeing him and not a dollar sign, but whatever it was, he wasn't going to let her get away from him quite yet.
He threw cash on the table and ran out of the restaurant, following her.