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EXCERPT FROM OUT OF CONTROL
"I find it interesting that you sent a resume."
Astrid frowned, not understanding. "Would you prefer to see photos of events I've arranged?" She bent down to retrieve her portfolio.
"No," he said.
Astrid straightened. "While your qualifications are impressive, they aren't required for the position."
Disappointment settled in her stomach. She stared at the Adonis seated across from her. At the wavy black hair that she'd bet felt like silk. At the thick, perfectly arched eyebrows above intense ebony eyes. Fathomless eyes that scattered her thoughts. And those lips...
She reminded herself that her disappointment was strictly professional, that landing this contract would be a major boon for her company.
"Why are you here, Ms. Thomas?" He set her resume down on the desk and leveled his intimidating stare at her.
"You've talked about events you've planned, and now you want to show me your portfolio." Erik shrugged. "Why?"
What did he mean? Wasn't that the whole point of this interview? She forced a polite chuckle. "Well...that's usually what convinces clients of my competence. Is there something else you'd like to see?"
His gaze drifted over her face, lingering on her lips, before lazily returning to her eyes. His eyes seemed darker, his look...sexual.
Astrid gave herself a mental shake. Her imagination was on overdrive. From what Suze had told her and the articles she'd read, Erik Santos was all business.
The sexy gaze was still there.
"Tell me about your other...skills." Sensuality dripped from the word "skills."'
Surely she was mistaken, reading sexual intent where there was none. "I can'tthink of any other skills more applicable to event planning-"
"But we both know you're not here for the event planning position."
"I don't under-"
With a flick of his wrist, ecru stationery fluttered to rest in front of her. She read the words with mounting horror.
"I didn't write that!"
Paper rustled. Her gaze flew to the name scribbled in blue ink. "I didn't sign that!"
His lips twisted. "Ms. Thomas, don't waste my time."
She glanced back at the signature-at the big loopy 'A' and the flamboyant 'T'-and fought the panic threatening to overwhelm her.
How totally embarrassing. How utterly humiliating. How was she going to explain this? She straightened her shoulders and lifted her chin. "Mr. Santos, I'm afraid there's been a mistake."
EXCERPT FROM HAWKMOOR
Within a quarter mile of home, she felt his lurking presence. His voice rode the twilight air, sultry with promise, slowing her steps to a halt.
"You never could control your temper on the night of the full moon, Mary Alison."
She couldn't hear his footfall, or the brush of cloth on cloth as he walked. Only that dark voice. Rich and smoky and earthy. Closer. She tasted a hint of sweetness too. Like in the smoke of pecan wood.
She snapped alert. She'd lost track of what he was saying, and he was barely ten feet away now.
Hypnotized? She gritted her teeth and fought the urge to reach out to him.
"You ovulate on the full moon. You only cry on the full moon."
"I never cry." Certainly not on the full moon. Not with the heavy meds she needed on those nights. She gave him her shoulder and put the width of the street between them.
He was teasing. That oddly affectionate dimension to his voice made it worse. She should run. She was no distance runner but she could out-sprint most weekend athletes.
She stepped into the street instead, reaching out. Trying to feel who and what he was.
She saw her hand groping the air. How stupid did that look? She put her hands behind her back. No, that poked her tits at him. Might look inviting. She dropped her arms. Exactly who was he?
"Come to me, Mary Alison, and know who I am."
"That has to be one of the lamest come-ons ever."
She moved a step closer. There. He colored and flavored and added texture to the air, yards further than even a cop usually reached. She felt more than his personality, his force of will. He had her trick of actively reaching out to sense what was there. Her insides tightened again.
No one can do that but me!
"None but us," he whispered, easing toward her.
His air surrounded her, filled her when she breathed in. She felt slow, heavy, soft. She felt drunk. Medicated to the gills, when she hadn't taken the first pill. She stood still, letting him come.
EXCERPT FROM LESSONS IN PLEASURE
"Well?" she said, pulling her gloves from her fingers and slapping them against her hand while thrusting her feelings aside. "We've wasted enough time on the pleasantries. Shall we not get this business finished so that I may return home, and you," she turned and stared at him, refusing to admit how her heart raced when she looked at him. "You may then return to whatever it is you do in the middle of the night."
Damian stared at her, praying to God his mouth wasn't hanging open in astonishment. She was an insolent little baggage, so full of self-righteousness and haughty assurance. What did she take him for, some green lad who wished for nothing more than a tumble? Had she thought she'd glide in here with the bearing of a queen so he could bed her and send her on her way?
He looked her over once more, taking in her prim dress and demure shawl. She'd done her hair in a severe bun, the strands stretched so tightly that the corners of her eyes were tugged upwards. She looked like a spinsterish prude. She'd done it on purpose, of course, just to vex him. Just to make him hurry up and get on with the business of fulfilling the rest of their bargain. But what the little minx didn't understand was that her spinsterish façade combined with her saucy tongue made him wish for many things other than a perfunctory bedding. What he wanted to do to Lily Farrington was far beyond rudimentary bed sport.
"What?" she asked, her hands fisted on her hips as she tilted her chin to look at him. "Perhaps you feel this bargain is no longer suited to your taste?"
"I assure you, Miss Farrington," he drawled, pushing himself away from the frame and shutting the door behind them. "This bargain more than suits me. It's very much to my taste, and my current fetish is for viper-tongued virgins who need to be taught a thing or two about keeping a man waiting when he's rock hard and searching for release."
"I see," she murmured, her innocent eyes round with shock.
"No," he murmured, reaching for her hand and bringing her further into his den of pleasure. "But I'm certain that by the time I'm finished with you, you'll see the truth clear enough."
EXCERPT FROM IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT!
"I have faith you're capable of vanquishing a demon while still finding time for extra-curricular activities. Besides," Molina said as she nuzzled Nick's neck and inhaled his masculine scent. "If I'm going to be stuck with you 24/7 until you solve this mystery, I ought to get some pleasure out of it."
Maybe he thought they should keep the kissing to a minimum, but she didn't. In fact, she wanted much more than just his arousing kisses...
She trailed a finger down his skin to the opening of his shirt. How she loved his chest. It was well-defined, with rock hard pectoral muscles. His bronze skin was covered with the finest, softest dusting of dark brown hair. Her fingers toyed with the next button on his shirt. She lifted her eyes to his handsome face as she slipped the small disk through its opening.
"Think of it this way," she continued in a sexy voice. "The closer you are to me, the safer I'll be. Feel free to visit my room and rumple the sheets whenever the mood strikes. You have my permission to guard my body anytime-day or night."
"Way to rationalize, baby," he grinned at her. "But, no."
Her lips curled upward. "Now, Nick," she said as she slid her fingers inside his shirt and stroked his hot flesh. "You know the more you resist, the more I persist..."
To prove her point, she bent her head to him and lightly brushed her lips over his neck. "Mm," she sighed. "You smell heavenly."
Nick groaned, low and deep. "I'm all for some pleasure, too, baby. But we need to focus on business first."
Molina concealed a sly grin. Foolish man. He ought to know better than to dangle a carrot in front of her and think she wouldn't reach for it. When it came to Nick Moretti, Molina found it impossible to resist her sexual impulses. She wanted to touch him, and be touched by him.