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by Raine Weaver
Description: The art of subtle seduction can be a light-hearted game-or a deadly dance. Veronica Peale is playing a game. Her best friend Kayla has decided to "loan" Ronnie her newest boy-toy, all in an effort to make her boss, Paul Lang, insanely jealous. Veronica reluctantly agrees to pretend that she's having a torrid love affair with Brant Coleman in order to entice the man she really wants. At least, she thinks he's the man she really wants? Brant Coleman is also playing a game. He is, in reality, an insurance investigator, trying to discover why Ronnie is in possession of a priceless pair of antique earrings, reported stolen by one of the wealthiest families in Cleveland, Ohio. It is his job to verify that they are the stolen earrings and, if possible, to recover them. And if he has to pretend to be Kayla's tool and Veronica's lover to get what he wants, so be it. At least, he thinks he's pretending to be in love with her?
eBook Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd., 2006
eBookwise Release Date: December 2010
2 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [248 KB]
Reading time: 150-210 min.
"Hey, pretty lady."
Dropping her purse, Veronica gasped as her hand flew to her heart.
And, for a moment, Brant's heart stopped beating completely.
She looked ravishing. Devastatingly beautiful. She wore red; rich, luscious red in a silk, bodice-fitting gown that suited her to perfection. Narrow in the waistline, it skimmed sensuously down her hips and drifted to the floor like a layered dream--with one daringly provocative slit up the left thigh that displayed her shapely leg to full advantage.
"Good God." Her voice was barely more than a whisper. "What in the world are you doing here?"
He couldn't take his eyes off her, could barely concentrate enough to speak. "I told you, I don't like leaving things unfinished." Her eyes glittered beneath lids dusted with smoky eyeshadow, and she was already nibbling on that lip, that full red bottom lip that drove him to distraction. She'd streaked her hair with a shade of chestnut brown, drawing attention to its thick, glossy texture and her striking bone structure.
She was the woman of all of his dreams. "We need to talk."
"You're out of your freaking mind."
"This is not news. Let's get to it."
He loved the sight of anger in her eyes. It was strikingly similar to passion. "If you think I'm going to stand here and--"
He body-blocked the doorway, leaning against the frame. "You got no choice, lady."
Retrieving her purse, she desperately looked for a back door, some other way out. "You can't do this. I'll scream."
That was the one thing he could not allow. With a bull-like snort, he grabbed and hoisted her up onto the sinks' ledge, pushing her gown upward and wedging his hips between her black-stockinged legs.
"Now, little Miss Honesty. We both know that, by the time your 'rescuers' arrived, I could have you screaming for another reason--don't we?" His hand rested on her knee, making small, silken circles inside her thighs. He paused, inhaling her scent. The perfume she wore for Lang was an expensive one, musky and suggestive, filling his mind with thoughts of taking her then and there. "But I'm trying to be civilized about this. All I ask is that you listen to what I have to say."
She was clutching that purse as she had once used her blanket to shield herself from him. But this time it wasn't a game. Their future happiness depended on this.
There was a small tremor in her voice as she spoke, refusing to make eye contact. "You can't seriously think I'd believe anything you'd say."
"Then I'll have to make you." His hand prowled upward, each exposed inch of dusky thigh inflaming him even more. "We're not leaving this room until you do."
Her eyes darkened as he touched her, and she plopped her purse upon her lap as a barrier to his hand. "Stop that."
He easily brushed it aside, claiming more territory. "No."
"You got everything you wanted, Coleman. Why can't you just leave me alone?"
"Everything I wanted?" He was close enough now to kiss her, to nibble on the curve of her neck, to drag the "hoochie-momma" dress right off her shoulders. But he maintained his distance. It was important that she see the truth in his eyes. "Not even close, pretty lady. We haven't showered together. That was on my agenda. Or driven deep into the Metroparks to do it in the car, like two horny teenagers. I haven't handcuffed you to my bed. I haven't had you on my balcony when the sky is clear over the Lake, and people with binoculars in Canada can watch us--"
"Stop." Her eyes darted from side to side, to the sinks, to the paper towel dispenser--anything to avoid looking at him. "We can't do this. Somebody might come in."
"That's not what you're worried about, Veronica." He watched as she nervously moistened her lips, and couldn't resist softly sampling them. Just a taste, he warned himself. That's all. "You're afraid of how much you want it, afraid that if I slide my hands up and in, just a little farther, you'll forget about Lang and your propriety and all your sensible little plans and give yourself over again." He nipped at her bottom lip, hardening as he spoke. "And again, and again, and again..."
She shivered, placing her smooth hands against his arms, and he waited for her to push him away.
She did not. She should have. He couldn't stop himself now.