Posted by Carly at May 30, 2006 6:00 am
HOT ITEM, the last book in my Hot Zone mini-series is on sale today! So in an effort to assist my cheesy begging for all of you to go out and buy this book NOW (either in stores or online), I’m posting an excerpt that isn’t available anywhere else. Not on my website, not in the romance emails that will be coming around from various places this week, nowhere.
This teaser is for FOR PLOTMONKEYS READERS ONLY. A special thanks for visiting us here.
Taken from a scene in Chapter Three …
Riley didnâ€™t know what had gotten into him. One minute heâ€™d been ignoring Sophie and her pissy attitude and the next he was enjoying watching her squirm. She couldnâ€™t handle the sexual banter without blushing a hot shade of red, which only made him want to push her buttons even more.
She was cute when she was mad but when piqued by jealousy, like when she hadnâ€™t been sure who Elizabeth was, Sophie was downright sexy. Heâ€™d followed her into small bathroom to . . . what?
â€œIâ€™m not joining the Mile High Club with you.â€ She glared at him but those wide blue eyes flashed with definite interest, contradicting her words.
â€œAnd here I thought you were already a member,â€ he said, wryly.
No way had she ever had sex anywhere but a bedroom in the missionary position. Heâ€™d bet his Superbowl Ring on it. But suddenly the thought of initiating her to sex in different places and positions held great appeal. He had a damn hard on to prove it.
This wasnâ€™t the first time his impulsive behavior had gotten him into trouble. Like the time heâ€™d been caught making out with the teaching assistant in the janitorâ€™s room in college. The difference was, the T.A. had been older and willing.
Sophie, for all her N.Y.C. chic and experience was definitely a lady in every sense of the term. It was part of what drew him to her, Riley knew. The lure of someone new and different. Someone special. He couldnâ€™t deny the chemistry between them or how easily he could get her to succumb, but that was the simple part because flirting came easily to Riley. Things with Sophie were more complicated.
He rarely sought out women the way he did with Sophie. She deserved better than a quickie in the sky, no matter how much fun it might be. To distract himself, he reached over and pulled some paper towels from the holder, dampened them and began to blot her shirt where the wine had stained.
He grit his teeth, determined to ignore her full breasts and pointed nipples. Perfectly rounded breasts and hardened tips just made for a man to suckle and tease. He tried to focus instead on her flat belly where the liquid had concentrated.
She grabbed his wrist, stopping him. â€œSeriously, Riley. What are you doing in here?â€
He groaned. Good question. One he was still trying to sort through himself. No way would he admit heâ€™d just followed her on impulse. â€œSince weâ€™re going to be spending time together, I thought we could come to an understanding.â€
She shifted in an obvious attempt to get more comfortable in the cramped space but her thighs came in direct contact with his and the flame burned hotter. Her sweet sugary scent, more refined and classy than most womenâ€™s, sent his already heightened senses soaring.
Sophie drew in a startled breath, an admission that the awareness between them definitely wasnâ€™t one sided.
Yet she sighed in clear annoyance.
â€œJust what did I do to piss you off so badly?â€ he asked.
â€œYou were late.â€ She said the word as if heâ€™d committed a cardinal sin.
She turned toward the mirror and he followed her stare so she was unable to look there without seeing his shocked expression.
â€œThatâ€™s it?â€ he asked. â€œI arrived a few minutes late and youâ€™re holding it against me?â€
â€œIt was rude! We agreed to meet before the flight. You left me wondering if you were even going to make it in time.â€ Her voice quivered and she glanced the opposite way, this time towards the safety of the empty wall. â€œI told you routine gives me comfort.â€ She spoke the last words softly.
A quiet admission of weakness, Riley thought.
Aww, hell. He hadnâ€™t meant to alarm her. Heâ€™d forgotten how seriously Sophie took life. Even with the dim lighting in the restroom, he could see her cheeks had turned pink and she sucked her lower lip into her mouth, embarrassed at admitting her neuroses aloud.
â€œHey,â€ he said, softly. â€œI said Iâ€™d be here.â€
â€œAnd I was supposed to take your word for it? The minutes ticked by and boarding had begun â€“â€œ
â€œWere the cabin doors closed?â€
She shook her head.
â€œWell then, there was still plenty of time for me to arrive.â€
â€œI donâ€™t work that way. I donâ€™t think that way. I plan ahead. And right now I need to find Spencer before my whole place of business falls apart. I have Cambias sniffing around and no sign of Spencer. He said heâ€™d be in by nine on Monday and he wasnâ€™t. You said youâ€™d meet me at the gate,â€ she said, the implication clear.
Heâ€™d let her down. The thought didnâ€™t sit well with him. Not a normal reaction for a man who did his own thing on his own schedule and answered to no one.
Most people accepted his behavior.
Sophie wasnâ€™t most people.
She folded her arms across her chest, as if that would provide a barrier between him and her emotions. Between them.
He placed a hand beneath her chin and turned her face towards him. Her skin was softer than anything heâ€™d caressed before and his gut churned with the sudden desire to kiss her lips and see if that pink pout felt as seductive as it looked. If her mouth tasted like the sweet heaven he imagined.
He shook his head to distract his thoughts. They had a mutual goal. To find his father and smooth over the mess created by the media. Not to find one another at thirty thousand feet.
To that end, they needed each other. â€œLook, Iâ€™m just not used to answering to anyone except Lizzy.â€
Sophie blinked, probably as startled by his semi-apology as he was.
â€œThatâ€™s what you call your daughter, Elizabeth?â€ she said.
He nodded, the old familiar pride welling inside him. Lizzy was Rileyâ€™s whole world and heâ€™d do right by her in ways his biological parent hadnâ€™t done by him. Heâ€™d be there for her and sheâ€™d know her daddy loved her.
â€œLizzyâ€™s thirteen going on eighteen. She has attitude up the wazoo and some discipline problems at school but sheâ€™s gorgeous. Iâ€™m going to have to buy a shot gun to keep the hormonal idiots away,â€ he said, awed as always by the young lady his daughter was becoming.
Sophie laughed, a light airy, more relaxed sound than heâ€™d heard from her since boarding.
â€œI take it you have some first hand experience with being one of those hormonal idiots?â€ she asked.
â€œYou know what they say. Boysâ€™ll be boys.â€
She inclined her head. â€œSo what do you suggest we do to make this arrangement work?â€ She turned the conversation back to them.
He leaned against the counter, thinking about what would help them get along for the duration of the trip when the desire between them was a tangible thing. â€œHow about we begin by understanding each other a little more. Iâ€™ll start. Atkins is my long lost father and though I have my reasons for needing to talk to him, I doubt heâ€™ll be happy to see me.â€ Riley offered the difficult admission as a peace offering.
A flash of understanding flickered in her eyes along with the steely resolve heâ€™d seen before. â€œI respect your privacy but you hired me to help you. Besides before I can bring you to Spencer, Iâ€™m going to need to know those reasons. Weâ€™re like â€“â€œ
â€œFamily. I know.â€ When used along with Spencer Atkins, the word family tasted sour in his mouth.
He paused, wondering how much more detail to reveal now and decided the lavatory wasnâ€™t the place for long winded explanations. â€œIâ€™ll fill you in. Just not here.â€
She nodded. â€œFair enough. I suppose youâ€™re looking for an admission of my own? A quid pro quo towards understanding? Well fine,â€ she said before he could reply. â€œIâ€™m a pro at handling other peopleâ€™s crises but not when everything around me is falling apart. If Spencer doesnâ€™t turn up soon, my entire lifeâ€™s going to crash and burn.â€ She blinked once, then blinked again.
He thought she was fighting tears but she covered so well he couldnâ€™t be certain. He admired that strength.
All Riley knew for sure was that for Sophie, routine provided comfort and Atkinsâ€™ disappearance had thrown her carefully structured life into disarray.
They had that in common, he thought. The desire to take care of her threw him. For the first time other than Lizzy, it wasnâ€™t all about him and those feelings for Sophie screwed with his carefree philosophy on life and made him nervous.
Still, he couldnâ€™t stop the words that came next. â€œIâ€™ll try harder not to screw up your schedule,â€ he said, hoping he could handle answering to someone, even on a short term basis.
â€œThanks.â€ She offered a smile and something inside him lightened with the knowledge that heâ€™d eased her burden.
â€œAnd Iâ€™ll try not to be such an uptight pain in the ass,â€ she said, taking him by surprise.
He hadnâ€™t expected her to know herself so well or to admit as much to him. Drawn by need and a compulsion he couldnâ€™t explain, Riley reached out and pulled at the binding holding her bun in place. She gasped in surprise as strands of honey colored hair fell around her face in waves, softening her features, making her appear infinitely more touchable.
She moistened her lips and he sucked in a sharp breath.
Right now he was definitely one of those hormonal idiots theyâ€™d just discussed. He leaned in so they were almost cheek to cheek and he inhaled her fragrant scent.
Together they generated enough heat in the small space to steam the mirror, set off the smoke alarm and send the flight attendants barging in.
â€œLadies and Gentleman, the captain has turned on the fasten seatbelt sign. Everyone please take their seats as soon as possible.â€ The flight attendantâ€™s voice broke into his thoughts.
He saw in her expression the minute she realized that sheâ€™d almost kissed Riley Nash at thirty thousand feet. Her eyes opened wide and she jerked away. Her knees came in contact with the toilet bowl and she ended up sitting on the closed seat with a thud.
He chuckled and held out his hand to help her up. â€œTell you what. Iâ€™ll leave first and you can sneak out after me.â€
â€œYouâ€™re a true gentleman, Nash.â€ Her voice held more than a hint of sarcasm but her eyes held a wealth of gratitude.
He decided not to remind her that people had probably already seen him follow her into the bathroom or what they already thought the two of them were doing in here. She had enough on her mind and Rileyâ€™s presence on this trip probably wasnâ€™t helping her keep things in her life running smoothly.
But he couldnâ€™t change the strength of their attraction nor, he admitted, did he want to.