Ethan's Temptress Bride [Secure]
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by Michelle Reid
Description: Tempted to make her his bride.... Millionaire Ethan Hayes considered Eve to be a spoilt little rich girl hell-bent on bringing men to their knees. But when she was senselessly attacked, Ethan offered to pose as her fiancee to calm her elderly Greek grandfather's fears. Suddenly Ethan was with Eve 24/7, and it was all he could do to prevent himself from giving in to temptation. Because, at the end of the coming fortnight, their mock engagement would be over. Then, surely, Ethan would be forgotten as Eve continued on her wicked, teasing way...
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Presents,
eBookwise Release Date: November 2007
14 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats [Secure - What's this?]: OEBFF Format (IMP) [333 KB]
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PARADISE was a sleepy island floating in the Caribbean. It had a bar on the beach, rum on tap and the unique sound of island music, which did seductive things to the hot and humid late afternoon air, while beyond the bar's open rough-wood construction the silky blue ocean lapped lazily against a white-sand shore.
Sitting on a bar stool with a glass of local rum slotted between his fingers, Ethan Hayes decided that it didn't get any better than this. Admittedly it had taken him more than a week to wind down to the point where he no longer itched to reach for a telephone or felt naked in bare feet and shorts instead of sharp suits and highly polished leather shoes. Now he would even go as far as to say that he liked his new laid-back self. 'No worries,' as the locals liked to say, had taken on a whole new meaning for him.
'You want a refill for that, Mr Hayes?' The soft melodic tones of an island accent brought his gaze up to meet that of the beautiful brown girl who was serving behind the bar. Her smile held a different kind of invitation.
'Sure, why not?' He returned a smile and released his glass to her—without acknowledging the hidden offer.
Sex in this hot climate was the serpent in Paradise. As one's body temperature rose, so did that particular appetite, Ethan mused, aware that certain parts of him were suggesting he should consider the offer in the bar-girl's velvet-brown eyes. But he hadn't come to the island to indulge that specific pleasure, and all it took was the tentative touch of a finger to the corner of his mouth to remind him why he was wary of female entanglement. The bruising to his lip and jaw had faded days ago, but the injury to his dignity hadn't. It still throbbed in his breast like an angry tiger in dire need of succour for its nagging wound. If a man had any sense, he wouldn't unleash that tiger on some poor, unsuspecting female; he would keep it severely locked up and avoid temptation at all cost.
Though there was certainly a lot of that about, he acknowledged, as he turned to observe the young woman who was hogging the small bare-board dance floor.
The serpent's mistress, he named her dryly as he watched her sensual undulations to the music. She was a tall and slender toffee-blonde with a perfect Caribbean tan, wearing a short and sassy hot-pink slip-dress that was an almost perfect match for the pink hibiscus flower she wore tucked into her hair.
Eye-catching, in other words. Too irresistible to leave to dance alone, so it wasn't surprising that the young men in the bar were lining up to take their turn with her. She had class, she had style, she had beauty, she had grace, and she danced like a siren, shifting from partner to partner with the ease of one who was used to taking centre stage. Her eager young cohorts were enjoying themselves, loving the excuse to get up close and personal, lay their hands on her sensational body and gaze into big green beautiful eyes or watch her lovely mouth break into a smile that promised them everything.
And her name was Eve. Eve as in temptress, the ruin of man.
Or in this case the ruin of these brave young hunters who were aspiring to be her Adam. For she was the It girl on this small Caribbean island, the girl with everything, one of the fortunate few. A daddy's girl—though in this case it was Grandpa's girl, and the sole heir to his fabulous fortune.
Money was one hell of an aphrodisiac, Ethan decided cynically. Make her as ugly as sin and he could guarantee that those same guys would still be worshipping at her dainty dancing feet. But as so often was the way for the fabulously wealthy, stunning beauty came along with this package.
She began to laugh; the sound was soft and light and appealingly pleasant. She pouted at her present young hunter and almost brought the poor fool to his knees. Then she caught Ethan's eyes on her and the cynical look he was wearing on his face. Her smile withered to nothing. Big green come-and-get-me-if-you-dare eyes widened to challenge his cynicism outright. She knew him, he knew her. They had met several times over the last year at her grandfather's home in Athens, Ethan in his professional role as a design-and-build architect renowned for his creative genius for making new holiday complexes blend into their native surroundings, Eve in her only role as her grandfather's much loved, much spoiled, gift from the gods.
They did not like each other. In fact mutual antipathy ran in a constant stream between them. Ethan did not like her conceited belief that she had been put on this earth to be worshipped by all, and Eve did not like his outright refusal to fall at her feet. So it was putting it mildly to say that it was unfortunate they should both find themselves holidaying in the same place. The island was small enough for them to be thrown into each other's company too often for the comfort of either. Sparks tended to fly, forcing hostility to raise its ugly head. Other people picked up on it and didn't know what to do or say to lighten the atmosphere. Ethan usually solved the problem by withdrawing from the conflict with excuses that he had to be somewhere else.
This time he withdrew by turning away from her, back to the bar and the drink that had just been placed in front of him. But Eve's image remained standing right there, dancing on the bar top. Proud, defiant, unashamedly provocative—doing things to other parts of him he did not want her to reach.
Copyright © 2002 by Michelle Reid.