Read an Excerpt
His Fantasy Girl
A Thing To Do Before You Die Novel
By Nina Croft, Candace Havens
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2015 Nina Croft
All rights reserved.
Abigail Parker smoothed down the skirt of her gray suit and slipped into her black, low-heeled pumps. A quick glance in the mirror showed she was ready to go. She didn't need to leave for work for an hour yet, but Jenny was due home from school any second and Abby wanted to spend some time with her before she had to go.
These moments were precious, and she always made sure they had some quality time together, whatever shift she was working. The last ten years had been difficult, but Abby was finally getting to where she wanted to be.
The doorbell rang and she headed out of the kitchen and down the hallway.
She opened the door and took an automatic step back. The man standing on the doorstep was tall, nearly a foot taller than her five-foot-four, so she had to crick her neck to look into his face.
She didn't know him ... did she?
Surely she'd have remembered.
He was the most stunning man she had ever set eyes on, his midnight black hair pulled back into a ponytail, revealing sharp cheekbones and silver-gray eyes. The black and red ink of a tattoo edged out of the neckline of his T-shirt, and more snaked down the length of his right arm. He wore black jeans that clung to his long legs and he looked lean and mean and ... vaguely familiar. Something about him tweaked at her memory, but she couldn't work out what. She returned her attention to his face. He still hadn't spoken, but was returning her scrutiny, a small frown pulling his brows together as though she wasn't who or what he'd expected.
Then he smiled; a tilt of his sensual lips, and flutters started in her belly. Most unexpected.
"Abigail Parker?" His voice was low and husky, the words a question.
Where had she seen him before? London was a big city, and she met lots of people through her work, but if she could concentrate for a moment it would come to her. At the same time, a little niggle of foreboding suggested perhaps she was better off not remembering. A smile like that could mean nothing but trouble. And she did not do trouble. She never did trouble. She was practical, sensible, and the few dates she did have were with nice men, not tattooed bad boys who only had to smile to melt the panties right off a good girl.
And why was she even thinking about panties melting?
No man had affected her like this. Not ever.
Well, okay once. But that was a long time ago and best not thought about.
She returned her attention to his face and found him watching her, one eyebrow raised, and she realized she hadn't answered his question. She licked her lips and wiped her palms down her sides. "I'm Abigail Parker."
Midnight black hair. Silver eyes. The dark slash of his brows. Where had she seen him before?
"You don't remember me, do you?"
His question dragged her from her thoughts. He sounded a little ... pissed off, as though the meeting was not going as planned and he wasn't quite sure how to proceed.
"Should I remember you? Mr. ...?"
He gave a slightly rueful smile. "I guess not." Faint amusement twinkled in his eyes, and he gave a slight shake of his head. He looked past her into the hallway. "Can I come in?"
Her reaction must have shown in her face because he gave a short laugh. "I take it that's a no." He rubbed a hand over his jawline, faintly shadowed with a day's growth of beard. Something in the movement tweaked a chord in her memory, but the answer stayed just out of reach. "Shit, this is difficult." He took a deep breath. "Okay, so the thing is ... we used to know each other."
"We did?" She was getting a really bad feeling, was in fact having to fight the urge to slam the door in his face and run and hide under the bed.
"Well, maybe 'know' isn't the right word." His lips quirked. "Unless we're talking in the biblical sense."
Her mouth dropped open and her eyes stretched wide. "What? No way. I think I would have remembered." But that bad feeling was getting bigger, swelling, and any second now she was guessing it was going to burst all over her.
"It was a long time ago," he said.
No. Freaking. Way.
She wanted to squeeze her eyes tightly shut and put her hands over her ears. Because she knew what was coming next and she didn't want to hear it. And she was suddenly quite aware of why he looked so familiar. Finally, she managed to croak out a question. "How long?"
"Eleven years." He studied her, his head cocked to one side. "I'm guessing it's coming back."
She stared at him — well, at his chest, where his T-shirt strained tight over the swell of muscles. Why? Why was he here after so long? What could he possibly want? Whatever it was, she couldn't deal with it right now.
"Logan McCabe." The name came out as a whisper.
She'd had sex with this man. And multiple orgasms. She was tied to him by tethers he knew nothing about. Did he?
It was weird that she'd been thinking about him lately, but in abstract; she'd never expected him to turn up on her doorstep.
She had to get rid of him.
Right now. Before disaster struck.
"Look, I'm sorry, but I have no clue what you want after all this time."
He gave a casual shrug. "Just to talk."
"What can we possibly have to talk about?" Actually a whole load of stuff, but she needed preparation for that, a clear head, advice from a lawyer, and maybe a couple of hundred years to think about it. "I can't. I really can't. I have to leave for work. Right now."
When he just stood there, staring down at her, she gritted her teeth and resisted the urge to push him off the doorstep.
His eyes narrowed. Then he pulled a card from his back pocket and handed it to her. She took it automatically, her eyes straying to the road, expecting to see the car pull up any moment.
"Call me," he said. "Or come by the club. When this has sunk in, I would like to ... talk to you."
When she didn't answer, his nostrils flared and something flashed in his eyes. "You remember the club? The place where you picked me up and fucked my brains out."
He turned and strolled away, hands shoved in his pockets.
"Ouch." The tension oozed out of her, and she leaned against the doorway, closed her eyes, and released a ragged breath.
When she opened them, he was gone.
By the following afternoon, Logan still hadn't gotten over his feeling of ... What? Maybe that was the problem. He had no clue how he felt. The meeting certainly hadn't gone as he'd imagined, but then again, what had he expected? He realized, obviously too late, that he hadn't given any thought to his fantasy girl's feelings in all this. Hey, she was his fantasy girl. She was supposed to act in an appropriate fantasy-like manner.
She wasn't supposed to look at him as though he was all her nightmares rolled up into one big pile of dog crap that she couldn't wait to scrape off her sensible shoes. And that was only after she'd finally recognized him — which had taken far longer than it should have done considering they'd had hot, mind-blowing sex every night for a year.
In his dreams.
He'd spent last night lying awake, going over the meeting, trying to decide what his next move should be, if any. But Josh and Vito would have a field day if he gave in this easily. And he was one hundred and ten percent convinced she wouldn't be calling, or turning up at the club, any time soon.
She was nothing like he remembered, and certainly nothing like the sort of woman to indulge in his kinkier fantasies, which was a pity and a dash to his hopes. For a moment, he'd thought he'd gotten the wrong Abigail Parker. Josh's security company had found her for him. Logan had only had the name Abigail and her date of birth — she'd told him she'd been celebrating her eighteenth birthday that night — but Josh had said that was enough. Logan had asked for a name and address. Perhaps he should have asked for more. But when he'd examined her closely, the basics were all there. The dark mahogany hair, though it was caught up tight in some sort of bun thing, and the big blue eyes. Her mouth ...
But he somehow remembered her as bigger. She was medium height, about five-five in her low heels, and she had a trim figure in a gray skirt that reached past her knees and a white shirt, buttoned up tight. Prim and proper. Especially when she'd pursed her lips and looked him over as if trying to work out what a tattooed, ex-con like him was doing on her pristine doorstep.
At first he'd been amused when she so obviously had no clue who he was. Then he'd been pissed off. Once she had finally recognized him, she had gotten rid of him so fast it should have been funny.
Except he wasn't laughing.
People had always looked at him and made assumptions about the sort of man he was — most of them bad and many of them correct — and it had never bothered him before.
And it shouldn't bother him now. So why the hell —
"Are we boring you, boss?"
The question dragged him from his thoughts, and he frowned. He realized he'd been staring at the toes of his boots where they rested on the chair opposite, when he should have been watching the woman on the stage. But it had taken him all of about five seconds to decide she wasn't suitable. They were a classy nightclub not a seedy strip joint. The dancers were there to provide a little glamour not a service for the customers.
He glanced at Jerry, his artistic manager, who sat beside him, in a crisp business suit. "No, not bored, just a little preoccupied." With Ms. Prim and Proper.
Still the question made him think. This had once been one of his favorite jobs — interviewing dancers for the clubs. Christ, what man wouldn't enjoy the show?
He studied the woman gyrating on the stage. She had impossibly red hair and impossibly huge tits only marginally covered by a sequined bikini top. Classy she was not. Nor was she prim and proper. She saw she had his attention and increased her efforts, gyrating to the low throb of the music. Reaching behind her, she tugged at the ties of her bikini top. Normally, at this stage he'd stop her and point out the whole classy nightclub thing, but he was worried.
What the hell was wrong with him?
Shouldn't he be feeling something right now? Something other than pissed off at a woman he hadn't seen in eleven years, and who wasn't even here, and probably never would be.
The dancer was doing this clever move, which made her nipples sort of rotate. Very impressive. But somehow he wasn't impressed. He looked down and contemplated the bulge in his jeans — not even a twitch. Once he would have taken the dancer up on the very clear invitation in her big brown eyes, just because he could, and because he loved women, all sorts of women, the more variety the better. And they would have both had a good time. Women liked him.
But the thought made him want to yawn.
Shit, he was only thirty-two. Wasn't that too young for a midlife crisis?
He loved running the nightclubs and had been doing it for ten years, ever since he'd gotten out of prison. His father, Rory, had believed he needed to keep busy to stay out of trouble. Though it wasn't needed; Logan had already decided he was never getting into trouble again. No way. But he'd loved the nightclub business from the start — the challenge, always something different going on, and an inexhaustible supply of gorgeous women to fuck. When had that lost its appeal? He couldn't remember the last woman he'd —
"I take it this one is a no," Jerry said, interrupting his thoughts. "Pity. I like her. Looks like a nice girl."
Logan snorted, watching as Jerry got to his feet and crossed the room. He spoke quietly with the woman, who flashed Logan a look of abject disappointment, as though he'd broken her heart or something. She picked up her top, clutching it to her bosom, and spoke again. Jerry flashed him a look of amusement but nodded and helped the woman down from the stage. She tottered over to Logan, hovered in front of him. Actually, she did look like a nice girl; there was a hint of sweetness beneath the heavy makeup.
Across the room, the door opened and a woman slipped inside. Logan glanced over and did a double take. Abigail Parker. He almost laughed out loud, and suddenly he had an urge to high five.
Still, he couldn't keep the grin from his face.
The nearly-naked dancer must have thought the smile was for her. She took a step closer. "I thought we might go for a drink," she said, halting in front of him.
"Sorry, sweetheart, no can do." She'd probably heard he was a sure thing. And maybe once he would have been.
He peered past her to make sure Abigail was still there. She stood inside the door, looking around as if unsure of her next move.
The dancer shuffled her feet. "I really need this job. I have a baby and a dog and ..."
There was a hint of desperation in her voice and he glanced back at her. He hated that. He looked from her to Jerry, who shrugged. "Okay," Logan muttered. "Take her on. But a week's trial only."
"Oh, thank you." She leaned down, dropped the top and kissed him on the lips, squashing her breasts against him. Nope, still no reaction from his dick. He glanced over her shoulder to where Abigail stood. She'd finally spotted him, and an expression of ... He couldn't really define it. Pained horror, maybe, was stamped on her face. She caught him watching her and the expression was wiped clean. Then her tongue came out, swiping across her lips in a nervous gesture, and he felt a definite twitch.
And there was that urge to high five again.
He'd almost forgotten the nearly-naked woman clinging to him, but was grateful when Jerry took pity on him and tugged her free. "Go get dressed and I'll go through the terms and conditions of the job."
She smiled and hurried away.
Jerry crossed the room and flicked on the main lights. In the sudden brightness, Logan got his first good look at Abigail, a complete contrast from the dancer.
While she held herself with a certain confidence, as though used to difficult situations, there was an uneasiness in her face, a little line between her eyes. But she was here. That was all that mattered. Logan relaxed in his seat, put his feet back on the chair opposite, took a sip of scotch, and studied her some more.
"You want me to deal with her?" Jerry nodded in Abigail's direction.
"No, you go sort out our new dancer." He gave Jerry a sharp look. "Did you tell her to try the 'I'm desperate' and the puppy dog look?"
"I might have mentioned you're a sucker for a sob story. But don't worry. I'll make sure she fits in."
Logan shook his head. But Jerry was good at his job, so he put it from his mind and turned his attention back to more important matters.
When Abigail saw he was alone, she straightened her shoulders and headed his way. Logan took another sip of scotch and watched her lazily. She looked out of place. If he wasn't mistaken, she was wearing the same gray skirt from yesterday, topped with a black sweater this time. Her dark hair was pulled into the same bun thing at the back of her head, showing off the perfect heart-shaped face, large blue eyes, and wide mouth he remembered. He had a sudden image of her on her knees in that immaculate outfit, her mouth wrapped around his dick, and he shifted in his seat.
Yes, everything was definitely in working order.
She came to a standstill in front of him, her gaze sliding over him, lingering on the tattoos that snaked down his arm, revealed by the short-sleeved T-shirt. Something flickered in her eyes. No doubt she was confirming her judgments of yesterday. But it didn't matter, she was here.
Her gaze darted away then back, and she blinked a couple of times, shook her head, swallowed ... He almost grinned and was about to put her out of her misery and offer her a drink, tell her he was really pleased to see her, when she spoke. "Mr. McCabe?"
Her voice was soft and low and sent a shiver down his spine that settled in his balls, flooding his groin with heat. And this time he did grin. The day was looking up.
"Call me Logan." He allowed his gaze to wander over her slowly, taking in the thrust of her breasts beneath the black sweater. They were full above a slender waist and rounded hips. And he was betting they were real. They'd feel soft in his hands.
And his dick jerked again. He put his feet on the floor and shifted his chair so she wouldn't see the reaction — he wasn't a complete boor.
Her eyes narrowed. Up close, they were as beautiful as he remembered, a mixture of blue and turquoise like the Caribbean Sea.
She cleared her throat. "Can we talk?"
We can do a hell of a lot more than that. But he kept those words to himself. He didn't want to scare her off. "We can do anything you like, sweetheart."
She frowned at the endearment. Her lips tightened and her fingers gripped the handle of her extremely large handbag. "I need to speak to you about something. Something important."
"You didn't seem to want to speak to me yesterday."
Excerpted from His Fantasy Girl by Nina Croft, Candace Havens. Copyright © 2015 Nina Croft. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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