Tempted by Her Innocent Kiss (Harlequin Desire Series #2143)

Tempted by Her Innocent Kiss (Harlequin Desire Series #2143)

3.8 65
by Maya Banks

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Devon Carter was her first; now newly wed Ashley wants their passion to last. But her dreams of true love are crushed by the discovery that their marriage is another of Daddy's business deals. Her strategy: act the part of perfect wife and make Devon love her.

But Devon misses the bubbly, no-holds-barred woman his wife used to be. Who is this Ashley with

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Devon Carter was her first; now newly wed Ashley wants their passion to last. But her dreams of true love are crushed by the discovery that their marriage is another of Daddy's business deals. Her strategy: act the part of perfect wife and make Devon love her.

But Devon misses the bubbly, no-holds-barred woman his wife used to be. Who is this Ashley with the steely demeanor of a society wife? And will he find a way to rekindle the fire in her eyes…especially now that she's pregnant?

Product Details

Publication date:
Harlequin Desire Series, #2143
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.60(h) x 0.90(d)

Read an Excerpt

There came a time in a man's life when he knew he was well and truly caught. Devon Carter stared down at the brilliant diamond solitaire ring nestled in velvet and acknowledged that this was one such time. He snapped the lid closed and shoved the box into the breast pocket of his suit.

He had two choices. He could marry Ashley Copeland and fulfill his goal of merging his company with Copeland Hotels, thus creating the largest, most exclusive line of resorts in the world, or he could refuse and lose it all.

Put in that light, there wasn't much he could do except pop the question.

The doorman to his Manhattan high-rise hurried to open the door as Devon strode toward the street, where his driver waited. He took a deep breath before ducking into the car, and the driver pulled into traffic.

Tonight was the night. All of his careful wooing—the countless dinners, kisses that started brief and casual and became more breathless—was a lead-up to tonight. Tonight his seduction of Ashley Copeland would be complete, and then he'd ask her to marry him.

He shook his head as the absurdity of the situation hit him for the hundredth time. Personally he thought William Copeland was crazy for forcing his daughter down Devon's throat. He'd tried everything to sway the older man from his aim to see his daughter married off. .to Devon.

Ashley was a sweet enough girl, but Devon had no desire to marry anyone. Not yet. Maybe in five years. Then he'd select a wife, have two-point-five children and have it all.

William had other plans. From the moment Devon had approached him, William held a calculated gleam in his eye. He'd told Devon that Ashley had no head for business. She was too soft-hearted, too naive, too…everything to ever take an active role in the family business. He was convinced that any man who showed interest in her would only be seeking to ingratiate himself into the Copeland fold—and the fortune that went with her. William wanted her taken care of and for whatever reason, he thought Devon was the best choice.

And so he'd made Ashley part and parcel of the deal. The catch? Ashley wasn't to learn of it. The old man might be willing to barter his daughter, but he damn sure didn't want her to know about it. Which meant that Devon was stuck playing stupid games. He winced at the things he'd said, the patience he'd exerted in his courting of Ashley. He was a blunt, straightforward person, and this whole mess made him grit his teeth.

If she was part of the deal, he'd rather all parties know that from the outset so there would be no misunderstandings, no hurt feelings and no misconceptions.

Ashley was going to think this was a grand love match. She was a starry-eyed, soft-hearted woman who preferred to spend time with her animal rescue foundation over board meetings, charts and financials for Copeland Hotels.

If she ever found out the truth, she wasn't going to take it well. And hell, he couldn't blame her. Devon hated manipulation, and he'd be pissed if someone was doing to him what he was doing to her.

"Stupid old fool," Devon muttered.

His driver pulled up to the apartment building that was home to the entire Copeland clan. William and his wife occupied a penthouse on the top floor, but Ashley had moved to a smaller apartment on a lower floor. Various other family members, from cousins to aunts and uncles, lived in all places in between.

The Copeland family was an anomaly to Devon. He'd been on his own since he was eighteen, and the only thing he remembered of his parents was the occasional reminder not to "screw up."

All this devotion William showered on his children was alien and it made Devon uncomfortable. Especially since William seemed determined to treat Devon like a son now that he was marrying Ashley.

Devon started to get out when he saw Ashley fly through the door, a wide smile on her face, her eyes sparkling as she saw him.

What the hell?

He hurried toward her, a frown on his face. "Ashley, you should have stayed inside. I would have come for you."

In response, she laughed, the sound vibrant and fresh among the sounds of traffic. Her long blond hair hung free tonight instead of being pulled up by a clip in her usual careless manner. She reached for his hands and squeezed as she smiled up at him.

"Really, Devon, what could happen to me? Alex is right here, and he watches over me worse than my father does."

Alex, the doorman, smiled indulgently in Ashley's direction. It was a smile most people wore around her. Patient, somewhat bemused, but nearly everyone who met her was enchanted by her effervescence.

Devon sighed and pulled Ashley's hands up to his waist. "You should wait inside where it's safe and let me come in for you. Alex can't protect you. He has other duties to attend to."

Her eyes sparkled merrily, and she flung her arms around his neck, startling him with the unexpected show of affection.

"That's what you're for, silly. I can't imagine anyone ever hurting me when you're around."

Before he could respond, she fused her lips hungrily to his. For God's sake the woman had no sense of self-control. She was making a spectacle here in the doorway to her apartment building.

Still, his body reacted to the hunger in her kiss. She tasted sweet and so damn innocent. He felt like an ogre for the deception he was carrying out.

But then he remembered that Copeland Hotels would finally be his—or at least under his control. He would be a force to be reckoned with worldwide. Not bad for a man who had been told that his sole ambition should be not to "screw up."

Carefully, he pulled her away and gently offered a reprimand.

"This isn't the place, Ashley. We should be going. Carl is waiting for us."

Her lips turned down into a momentary frown before she looked beyond him to Carl, and once again she rushed forward, a bright smile on her face.

He shook his head as she greeted his chauffeur, her hands flying everywhere as she spoke in rapid tones. Carl grinned. The man actually grinned as he handed Ashley into the car. By the time Devon made it over, Carl had already reverted back to his somber countenance.

Devon slid into the backseat with Ashley, and she immediately moved over to nestle into his side.

"Where are we eating tonight?" she asked.

"I planned something special."

As expected she all but pounced on him, her eyes shining with excitement.

"What?" she demanded. He smiled. "You'll see."

He felt more than heard her faint huff of exasperation and his smile broadened. One thing in Ashley's favor was that she was extraordinarily easy to please. He was unused to women who didn't wheedle, pout or complain when their expectations weren't met. And unfortunately, the women he usually spent time with had high expectations. Expensive expectations. Ashley seemed happy no matter what he presented her with. He had every confidence that the ring he'd chosen would meet with her approval.

She nestled closer to him and laid her head on his shoulder. Her spontaneous demonstrations of affection still unbalanced him. He wasn't used to people who were so…unreserved.

William Copeland felt that Ashley needed someone who understood and accepted her nature. Why he thought Devon fit the bill Devon would never know.

When they married, he would work on getting her to restrain some of her enthusiasm. She couldn't go through her entire life with her emotions on her sleeve. It would only get her hurt.

A few minutes later, Carl pulled up to Devon's building and got out to open the door. Devon stepped out and then extended his hand to help Ashley from the car.

Her brow was creased in a thoughtful expression as she stared up at the building.

"This is your place."

He chuckled at her statement of the obvious. "So it is. Come, our dinner awaits."

He ushered her through the open door and into a waiting elevator. It soared to the top and opened into the foyer of his apartment. To his satisfaction, everything was just as he'd arranged.

The lighting was low and romantic. Soft jazz played in the background and the table by the window overlooking the city had been set for two.

"Oh, Devon, this is perfect!"

Once again she threw herself into his arms and gave him a squeeze worthy of someone much larger than herself. It did funny things to his chest every time she hugged him.

Extricating himself from her hold, he guided her toward the table. He pulled her chair out for her and then reached for a bottle of wine to pour them both a glass.

"The food is still hot!" she exclaimed as she touched the plate in front of her. "How did you manage it?"

He chuckled. "My super powers?"

"Mmm, I like the idea of a man with super cooking powers."

"I had someone in while I was gone to collect you."

She wrinkled her nose. "You're horribly old-fashioned, Dev. There was no reason to collect me if we were spending the evening at your apartment. I could have gotten a cab or had my father's driver run me over."

He blinked in surprise. Old-fashioned? He'd been accused of a lot of things, but never of being old-fashioned. Then he scowled.

"A man should see to his woman's needs. All of them. It was my pleasure to pick you up."

Her cheeks pinkened in the candlelight, and her eyes shone like he'd just handed her the keys to a brand-new car.

"Am I?" she asked huskily.

He cocked his head to the side as he set his wineglass down. "Are you what?"

"Your woman."

Something unfurled inside him. He wouldn't have considered himself a possessive man, but now that he'd decided that she would be his wife, he discovered he felt very possessive where she was concerned.

"Yes," he said softly. "And before the night is over, you'll have no doubts that you belong to me."

A full body shiver took over Ashley. How was she supposed to concentrate on dinner after a statement like that? Devon stared at her across the table like he was going to pounce at any moment.

He had the most arresting eyes. Not really brown, but a warm shade of amber. In the sunlight they looked golden and in the candlelight they looked like a mountain lion's. She felt like prey, but it was a delicious feeling, not at all threatening. She'd been waiting for the moment when Devon would take their relationship a step further.

She'd longed for it and dreaded it with equal intensity. How could she possibly keep pace with a man who could seduce a woman with nothing more than a touch and a glance?

He'd been a consummate gentleman during the time they'd been dating. At first he'd only given her gentle, nonthreatening kisses, but over time they'd become more passionate and she'd gotten a glimpse of the powerfully sensual man under the protective armor.

She had a feeling that once those layers were peeled back, the man behind them was ferocious, possessive and…savage.

Another shiver overtook her at the direction of her thoughts. They were fanciful, yes, but she truly believed her assessment. Would she find out tonight? Did he plan to make her his?

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Meet the Author

Maya Banks lives in Southeast Texas with her husband and three children. When she’s not writing, she loves to hunt and fish, bum on the beach, play poker and travel.

Escaping into the pages of a book is something she’s loved to do since she was a child. Now she crafts her own worlds and characters and enjoys spending as much time with them as possible.

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Tempted by Her Innocent Kiss: Tempted by Her Innocent Kiss Never Too Late 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 65 reviews.
rhonda1111RL More than 1 year ago
4 STARS I liked both stories in this book. Their are love scenes in both Tempted by Her Innocent Kiss and Never Too Late, the short story by Brenda Jackson. In the first book is the story of Devon and Ashley. It opens with Devon planning to ask Ashley to marry him. Her father made that a condition of their companies mergeing together. Devon is not to happy about decieving Ashley. After a romantic dinner at his place before they make love, Ashley tells him that she is a virgin. Devon is proud and possessive. tells her that from now on she will stay with him. The next morning wakes up to a rose, card and diamond ring beside her. Ashley is full of joy and wears were feelings out for people to see. She works at a animal shelter. She wants to have a house, animals and children. On her wedding night she finds out that Devon does not love her and that her father made Devon marry her. Devon tells her faults and that he thinks they can make the marriage be a good one. Ashley starts to make the changes to fit with what he wants and becomes more unhappy all the time. Devon does not like the changes either. In Never Too Late Sienna marrage will be over in two weeks time. She goes to their cabin to take all her stuff out of it, because Devon gets the cabin in the divorce. Devon goes to the cabin because he left something their a couple of weeks ago and wants it before the big snow storm comes. Devon is not happy that she is their too. Sienna wants to know if he came alone when he stayed their and what he left. Sienna looks out and a blizzard of snow did not hold out for the next day it was here now. They dont have a lot of food to last a few days they might be stuck their. Devon did not want a divorce and was surprised when he came home one day to find that she had left. He wants this time to figure out what went wrong and if they can save their marrage. I was given this ebook to read in exchange of honest review from Netgalley. 03/06/2012 PUB Harlequin Harlequin Desire
lilbook-worm More than 1 year ago
I loved this book!! Maya Banks has done it again. Tempted by her Innocent Kiss was a great book! And I highly recommend this book and this series!! It helps if you read this series chronologically, but it can totally be read as a stand alone. This book made me cry, laugh, and smile; it was a great all around book. The characters was well developed and excellent; it totally made you wanna slap some sense into Devon. A definite read!!! Can not wait until the next book!
Michelleeeeee More than 1 year ago
Maya does it again. She has a way of creating a leading man that you just love to hate how male his thinking is, but love his alpha male attitude. This is the 3rd book in this series and I admit the first book had me waffling with but I stuck with it. You just can't help but keep reading. I guess it is that the characters are so believable. Devon made me want to slap him upside the head and but Ashley just wanted to bring a smile to his world. The characters are believeable and you find yourself cheering by the end of the story. A definite must read!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although a decent story, Maya can become repetitive. The story is 156 pages in addition to fifty for another short story to equate to 206 pages. For a 156 page story that repeats itself, make it $0.99. Be real with the consumer/reader. Dont skip on quality fot qty. A good read can be 100 pages as long it has substance. The end was rushed, but the middle repeated the first 13 pages stated. Readers beware of this repetitiveness, but if this works for you .....happy reading. Maybe i should have researched her style of writing because it doesnt work for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed both of the offerings. Look forward to reading more by Maya Banks and Brenda Jackson. LA-TXN
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good series, very emotional and passionate. These books were recently republished as Tempted, Undone, ect. So beware if you've already purchased those!!
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Hero was a jerk and she had no back bone. Rest of the series is much better.
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Note to authors everywhere: Heroes do not have to be ass*oles. They can be alpha males but know how to treat a woman. Look at Christian Grey
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Loved This Author
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very much worth reading
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WhatsOntheBookshelf More than 1 year ago
A great Intro to category romance I wasn't sure what to expect when I started this book. After reading a book by Maya that I received for Christmas I had to give this one a try. This was also the first category romance book I read. The nice thing about category romance is they are fast-paced and easy to read. Tempted by Her Innocent Kiss was a very quick read, but I quickly fell in love with Devon and Ashley. They both had their faults, Devon especially, but throughout the book their growth had me turning the page as fast as I could. Devon is a bit of an egomaniac and wants the perfect socialite wife--or so he thinks. Ashley tries to be that person, but learns that she isn't happy with herself when she is. I loved the antagonistic relationship these two shared throughout the book. There were moments when I wanted to strangle both of them which only made me that much happier when it all worked out in the end. For an introduction into category romance this was a great choice. I'd recommend any of Maya's books because the writing is solid and the stories are captivating.