His Sexy Bad Habit [NOOK Book]

Overview

She Makes A Move For His Heart. . .

He's hot and he's single, but Antonio Billups has been out of the dating game for three years. Since his wife died, his focus has been on his business--and their son A.J. Enter new-in-town sultry, sexy Serena Jacobs, a woman who just might inspire Antonio to change his ...
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His Sexy Bad Habit

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Overview

She Makes A Move For His Heart. . .

He's hot and he's single, but Antonio Billups has been out of the dating game for three years. Since his wife died, his focus has been on his business--and their son A.J. Enter new-in-town sultry, sexy Serena Jacobs, a woman who just might inspire Antonio to change his mind about being alone. . .

That His Body Can't Resist. . .

Serena's new restaurant is about to take off, and so is her heart--to Antonio. But events from her past are about to hit the fan--with a little help from Antonio's scheming sister-in-law. Soon, Hollywood catfights and long-ago love affairs threaten the steamy relationship between Antonio and Serena, and when their secret histories collide, they must choose between a future with--or without--love. . .

"Hodges delivers a sizzling romance. . ." --Publishers Weekly on More Than He Can Handle
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In the three years since his wife died, sexy Antonio Billups has kept his pants zipped, focusing on being a good parent to his young son. That doesn't stop him from noticing Serena Jacobs, the sizzling hot "Ice Queen" introduced in 2009's Betting on Love, when she hires him to renovate her restaurant. With cinematic chemistry that crackles on the page, the two embark upon a whirlwind romance. Readers, too, can fall in love with doting and stylish Antonio, who "channeled his inner Eric Benet with a pair of blue jeans, a white button down shirt, and black sports jacket." Even with a cookie-cutter storyboard and heavy-handed sex scenes, Hodges makes magic with this troupe, especially when it comes to Serena's clique of loyal college girlfriends, ready to spring to action when Antonio's sister-in-law intrudes with jealous meddling. (Jan.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780758268044
  • Publisher: Kensington
  • Publication date: 1/1/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 289,328
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Cheris Hodges

Cheris Hodges was bitten by the writing bug at an early age and always knew she wanted to be a writer. She is a 1999 graduate of Johnson C. Smith University and a staff writer at Creative Loafing magazine in Charlotte, North Carolina. A native of Bennettsville, South Carolina, Cheris loves hearing from her readers.

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First Chapter

His SEXY Bad Habit


By CHERIS HODGES

DAFINA BOOKS

Copyright © 2011 Cheris Hodges
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-7582-4710-0


Chapter One

Serena Jacobs looked down at her pink bridesmaid dress and shook her head in disgust. Sure she'd agreed to be in her best friend Kandace Davis's wedding, but she had no idea that she'd be stuck in pink lace looking like a bottle of Pepto Bismol.

She hated the color pink. In her mind it made people think women were weak. And the last thing Serena Jacobs was was a weak woman. She scowled as she fluffed her honey brown curls.

"Will you smile?" Jade Goings asked as she adjusted the bodice of her strapless dress in the mirror.

"Why would Kandace choose pink and gold for her wedding colors?" Serena asked as she smoothed her hands down the sides of her dress. "She could've gotten away with slinky black dresses."

Alicia Michaels ran her fingers though her wavy black hair and shook her head. "Only you would associate black with a wedding. At least we're part of this one," she said, then shot a glance at Jade.

"Am I ever going to live that down? It was a spur of the moment deal," Jade said of her Las Vegas wedding that her friends hadn't participated in. She and her husband, James, met and got married in Las Vegas nearly two years ago. Still, her friends weren't happy that they hadn't been part of the ceremony.

Serena went silent, thinking back to the wedding she'd almost had that would've left her friends out in the cold, too. Five years ago, she'd left Atlanta to chase her dream of screenwriting. But the first person Serena'd met in Los Angeles, renowned filmmaker Emerson Bradford, had told her that her future wasn't behind the scenes.

"What do you mean?" Serena had asked as she ripped her screenplay from his hands. "You haven't even read my script."

"I'm sure it's good," he'd replied with a 10,000watt smile that made Serena's anger go from boil to simmer. "But you have the face and body of a star."

"What makes you an authority?" she'd asked, placing her hand on her hip. "I've never even heard of you. For all I know you could be some poseur hanging around UCLA hoping all the wannabe screenwriters are so desperate to get their foot in the door that we'll just fall for the first line you offer."

Emerson had stood there with a smile on his face. "I have the perfect role for you. Do you have your SAG card?"

"For the last time, I'm a writer. Why do I need a Screen Actors Guild card?"

"Because, you're going to star in my next movie. We can discuss it over dinner," he'd said. And despite her apprehension at who Emerson had said he was, Serena had agreed to dinner with him. But before they'd met for dinner, she'd headed to Starbucks and did a Google search of Emerson Bradford. She'd been surprised and satisfied to find out that he was who he'd said he was. According to Variety, Emerson had just signed a deal with Warner Brothers for a sexy thriller that could be a star vehicle for the right actress. The magazine had quoted Emerson saying he'd wanted a fresh face for the movie. So, he's not full of crap after all, she'd thought as she reread the article and studied the picture of Emerson Bradford.

She'd taken him as a handsome man with a caramel complexion and an air of sophistication. His hazel eyes had seemed to sparkle in the picture and she'd allowed her curiosity to take over. She figured even if Emerson had been trying to run that Hollywood game on her, she'd at least get a free dinner out of it.

Serena had blown off her shift at M Grill and called Emerson to get the details on his dinner offer. He'd informed her that he'd send a car to pick her up and he'd wanted her to wear the sexiest thing she had in her closet.

* * *

"Hello," Jade said, snapping Serena out of her reverie. "We have to go check on the bride."

"Yeah, yeah," Serena said as she retouched her lipstick, then followed her girlfriends out of the dressing room into the bridal suite.

As Serena trailed her friends, she tried to shake her mind clear of Emerson. For so many years, she'd buried those memories, not even sharing them with her close friends. The fact that they returned in full force today bothered her.

She'd never been the type of woman who envied friends who got married. You're being a fool. Marriage is for women like Jade and Kandace, not you. Don't let the wedding bells play with your head, Serena thought as Jade opened the door to the suite.

"Hello," Jade said to Kandace, who was sitting at the vanity toying with her veil. "Are you ready?"

Kandace turned around with a nervous look on her face. "Where the hell have you all been?" she asked. "I had to put my mother out. She was just too much to deal with."

Jade walked over to Kandace and fixed her crooked veil. "Why would you put your mother out?"

"Knowing Miss Davis, she was crying, wasn't she?" Alicia asked as she admired Kandace's ivory Vera Wang dress with intricate beading work across the bodice.

Kandace nodded her head. "I didn't think you guys were ever going to come in here and save me. Oh my God, I'm so nervous. There have to be twenty cameras out there and a bunch of people I don't even know."

"What did you expect when you said you would marry Solomon Crawford?" Serena asked as she handed Kandace a tube of MAC lip gloss. "I'm pretty sure half of New York is out there."

Kandace shook her head. "I knew we should've just kept it simple," she said as she slowly rose from her seat.

Alicia pinched Serena's arm. "You know how she is, especially after everything that happened in Charlotte. Don't make her nervous about those cameras," she whispered. Jade followed Kandace as she paced back and forth.

"Kandace," Jade said as she stopped her friend from pacing. "Today is your day. The only thing that matters is that you and Solomon love each other. This is your day."

Kandace smiled and nodded. "All right. You're right, my day."

"And all of those cameras are for you," Serena added. "So, don't worry about them."

The three women surrounded Kandace and hugged her, being careful not to wrinkle her dress or mess up her makeup. "Let's get you down the aisle so you can become Mrs. Crawford," Jade said.

"Serena, are you sure you're okay with taking over for me in Charlotte?" Kandace asked once the women stopped hugging.

She smiled at her friend. "I'm fine with it. I have some unfinished business in the Queen City."

"Antonio Billups?" Alicia questioned.

"Hello, let's focus on the bride," Jade said. "Then we'll talk about Serena and our contractor."

Despite the fact that Kandace had been nervous before walking down the aisle, she was the picture of grace and love when she and hotel mogul Solomon Crawford exchanged their vows. Serena had to admit the ceremony was beautiful. She even felt a lone tear slide down her cheek as Kandace and Solomon kissed for the first time as husband and wife. As she linked arms with the groomsman she'd been paired with, all she could think about was the last conversation she'd had with Antonio Billups, the contractor who was going to revamp Hometown Delights after the horror that had occurred there last November.

Carmen De La Croix, or rather Chelsea Washington, had been obsessed with Solomon. When she'd seen that Solomon had fallen in love with Kandace, she'd stalked the couple and tried to kill Kandace in the restaurant. It was a messy scene and brought the wrong kind of attention from the media.

After Thanksgiving dinner, the women decided to redo the restaurant, which brought contractor Antonio Billups back into Serena's life since he'd been hired again, to oversee the renovations. Antonio intrigued her ever since they'd shared hot kisses in a room at the Westin hotel nearly two years ago. When he'd begun the initial work on the restaurant, Serena had thought she would've ended up in his bed by now, but Antonio pulled back. She felt as if he was hot and cold. Serena had done what she normally does when she doesn't get her way, tuned out emotionally—still, she wanted him and wondered what it would feel like to be wrapped up with Antonio.

Now that she would be in town she was going to get what she wanted from the sexy Mr. Billups. The thought of his naked body entwined with hers made her smile brightly as the photographer snapped a picture of the wedding party. She was definitely ready to head to Charlotte and oversee the renovation of the restaurant.

Antonio Billups yawned as he looked over the specs for Hometown Delights. He was set to start work on the restaurant when the owners returned from New York. Smiling, he thought about one of the owners in particular—Serena Jacobs. She had a killer body and lips that were soft like rose petals. But would she really fit into the life he had? He was a father first. Still, that didn't mean he wasn't a hot-blooded man who needed the comforts of a woman.

Could Serena offer him what he needed?

Looking out the window of his home office, Antonio thought back to the first moment he'd laid eyes on her.

She and Jade had met him at the property to talk about what renovations were needed before the restaurant could open. When Jade had gotten sick, Serena handled the meeting with him and Norman Engles, his business partner. Her deep brown eyes had struck him first. Then she'd smiled at him with a mix of seduction and desire dancing on her face as she'd extended her well-manicured hand and said, "I'm Serena Jacobs and I look forward to doing business with you gentlemen." Her voice had been melodic to his ears and his instant attraction to Serena had shocked him. It had been three years since he looked at a woman with lustful thoughts swirling in his head. Three years since his wife, Marian, had been killed in a collision with a drunk driver who was heading up the interstate going the wrong way.

But something in the way Serena Jacobs had looked at him awakened a dormant need. It had been a struggle for him to focus on business when he hadn't been able to tear his eyes away from her long shapely legs. It was as if something else had taken control of him when he'd said, "I can bring you the contracts for the project this evening and we can discuss them over a drink."

Norman had shot Antonio a stunned look. Asking a potential client out wasn't his partner's style, but he'd nodded approvingly at him when Serena had been talking to Jade on her cell phone.

"I was two seconds from doing that myself," Norman had whispered to Antonio. "She's a stone cold fox."

"And about twenty years younger than you," he'd replied to his partner as he patted the man's beer belly.

Norman sucked his teeth. "Just because it's snow on the roof don't mean the fireplace doesn't get hot. Just takes a little more time. I'm glad to see you coming out of the exile you put yourself in."

Antonio had shrugged his shoulders. "All I did was ask the woman out for a drink."

"I saw those looks you were giving her. This ain't about contracts or a drink," Norman had said.

Antonio had been about to deny what Norman had observed when Serena sauntered over to them and said, "I'll be ready at eight to discuss the contracts and have that drink." Her smile had caused an ache in his pants and swelling in his boxers.

"I look forward to it, Mrs. Jacobs," he'd said.

"Please, call me Serena. Mrs. Jacobs was my grandmother," she'd replied in a flirty tone.

Smiling, Antonio had nodded in reply. "All right, Serena. Where are we meeting?"

"I'm staying at the Westin down—I mean—Uptown. I hear they have a nice bar there," Serena had said.

"Then I'll see you at eight." After they left, Antonio had headed home and called his sister-in-law, Casey, to watch A.J.

"What's going on?" she'd asked him after agreeing to watch her nephew.

"I'm meeting with a client," he'd replied, not wanting to tell his sister-in-law that he was meeting a woman. Though his wife had been dead for three years, he hadn't been sure Casey would agree with him returning to the dating world. Maybe she'd think he was betraying her sister and he hadn't wanted to have that conversation with her.

"I'd love to watch A. J. Should I come over there?" she'd inquired.

"Sure, he's getting ready to watch a movie on the Disney Channel. He's had his dinner and don't let him fool you into feeding him a bunch of ice cream before I get back."

"All right."

When Casey had arrived at his house, Antonio barely had said good-bye to her before he was out the door. His anticipation to see Serena had rendered him temporarily thoughtless. He'd sped from his northeast Charlotte home and arrived at The Westin in record time. The moment he'd stepped into the bar, Serena had met him, looking even more delicious in her black bandeau dress that skimmed her knees.

"It's pretty loud in here," she'd said. "Why don't we head up to my room and look over those contracts?"

"Are you sure?" he'd asked, not certain he'd be able to go into Serena's room and concentrate on business. Not the way she'd looked in that dress.

"Well, we can't talk over that music nor can we worry about spilling drinks on those important papers," she'd said, then ran her finger down his arm. Antonio had known Serena wanted to do more than talk business. Still, he'd followed her up to her room. Sure they'd gone over the contracts, but that took about twenty minutes, then she'd ordered drinks from room service and sat on the bed beside him. Their conversation had been light, talking about Charlotte's downtown area being called Uptown and how she got into the restaurant business.

She'd inched closer to him as he talked about how his company had worked on the Blake Hotel and helped turn the place into a boutique hotel that offered something different in the city. Serena had turned her head and their lips were inches from each other's. Antonio had expected her to turn her head away, but she'd pressed her lips against his and kissed him with a scorching passion that sent chills up and down his spine. He'd returned the kiss with fervor and zest that had allowed him to release years of pent up emotions, pent up desire and passion. She had melted against his chest and deepened the kiss. Their tongues danced against each other as Antonio had slipped his hand between her thighs.

Abruptly, he'd pulled back from her. "Whoa," he'd said, feeling like a teenager sneaking around with a girl. "This can't happen."

She'd raised her eyebrow and asked, "Why not? We're both adults."

"I can't do this. We're about to start working together."

Serena had risen to her feet and paced back and forth. "And? You're married, aren't you?"

Antonio held up his left hand. "I'm not married. But, like I said, we're about to start working together and I don't want to complicate matters with sex." He'd stood up and closed the space between them. He'd wanted to have sex with her, wanted to lift that little black dress above her head and see the splendor of her naked body.

Serena had seemed to notice his desire as she glanced down at the fly of his slacks. "I'm not a woman who plays games and I go after what I want," she'd said. "Since I know for sure this isn't one-sided, I'm telling you, again, we're adults."

"I know this," he'd replied. "But I have to try and be professional."

Serena had offered him a sly smile and pressed her body against his. "But I don't," she'd said and leaned in to kiss him again. Unable to resist, he'd cupped her bottom and started to inch up her dress. Before anything else could happen, the door had opened and Jade had walked in, causing them to break off the kiss.

That kiss still kept him up at night, even after all the time that had passed. It kept him yearning for more from Serena, but he couldn't get caught in her sexy web when he had A.J. and his business to run. Still, how much longer could he deny what he wanted?

Chapter Two

Two days after Kandace and Solomon were whisked away to Dundret in Sweden for their snow-filled honeymoon, Serena stood in the townhouse that Kandace used to rent, unpacking her things, since she was going to staying in Charlotte until the restaurant was redesigned. She was happy that she'd allowed movers to bring in all of the heavy items like her bedroom suite, her leather living room sectional, and her heavy bookcases. Had she been smarter, she would've allowed them to unpack her books and set up the entertainment center.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from His SEXY Bad Habit by CHERIS HODGES Copyright © 2011 by Cheris Hodges. Excerpted by permission of DAFINA BOOKS. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 4, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    TREASURED SPOT BOOK REVIEWS

    HIS SEXY BAD HABIT IS S MUST READ BECAUSE IT DEALS WITH REALATIONSHIP AMONGST FRIENDS,AND HER FEELINGS TOWARDS ANTONIO A MAN SHE MEETS AT ONE HER BEST FRIENDS WEDDING.NOT ONLY DOES ANTONIO INTRIGUES HER SHE SOON LUST AFTER HIM AS HE AFTER HER.A REALTIONSHIP ENSUES BETWEEN THEM,AND PASSION& HEAT TAKES OVER THIER BODIES.SERENA IS HOLDING BACK OF LETTING HER TRUE FEELING EMERGE FOR ANTONIO.BECAUSE SHE WAS JILTED IN THE PAST BY A MAN THAT LEFT HER AT THE ALTAR.BUT THE THING IS ANTONIO HAS A SECRET OF HIS OWN,AND KIND OF HESITANT ABOUT TELLING HER.SERENA& ANTONIO ARE FALLING FOR ONE ANOTHER,AND BOTH WONDER WILL THERE PAST HINDER THEM FROM HAVING A MANINGFUL REALTIONSHIP.NOT TO MENTION THERE ARE PEOPLE LURKING IN THE BACK GROUND TO STOP WHAT COULD BE A LOVING RELATIONSHIP.GREAT BOOK IT'S DEFINITELY A FIVE STAR READ.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2011

    Recommended but read the other first

    This was a good read. I enjoyed this book. The love scenes were great it gave great details. The overall book was good. I have not had a chance to read the ones before this one I'm not sure if I will because I know how they all turned out in the end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2012

    Extremely entertaining

    Omg! I loved it! It had me on edge til the very end! I actually own the paper back...its well used! I recomend it highly!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    Wonderful !!!

    I really enjoyed reading this book. A page turner. I could not put it down. Great story line. I would recommended you buy this book. You will not be disappointed.

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