Twice the Temptation [NOOK Book]

Overview

Playing with Reese

Reese Brightman has a busy life…and a secret fantasy: to play with a no-strings-attached boy toy! When she arrives at the resort she and her sisters own, gorgeously rumpled Mac Davies seems to be up to the task. Who'd have guessed he'd be the best sex she'd ever had. Or that she'd want a repeat performance. But Reese only wants to play with her boy toy, not keep him. Or does she?

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Twice the Temptation

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Overview

Playing with Reese

Reese Brightman has a busy life…and a secret fantasy: to play with a no-strings-attached boy toy! When she arrives at the resort she and her sisters own, gorgeously rumpled Mac Davies seems to be up to the task. Who'd have guessed he'd be the best sex she'd ever had. Or that she'd want a repeat performance. But Reese only wants to play with her boy toy, not keep him. Or does she?

Saving Brie

Being witness to a mob hit lands Brie Sullivan at remote Haworth House for her own protection. Bonus? She also gets an irresistibly sexy new bodyguard, Cody Marsh! Why not indulge in her fantasy of one wild night with him? It's not like all that amazing sex will kill her. But if she keeps distracting Cody, somebody else might….

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426864278
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 8/1/2010
  • Series: Harlequin Blaze Series , #555
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 685,502
  • File size: 527 KB

Meet the Author

Did Cara Summers always dream of becoming a writer? Absolutely not!

At the age of six, she wanted to become the next Mother Teresa. At eight, her goal was to become a P.I. and drive a car just like Nancy Drew's. In junior high, her interests shifted to science, and she believed that brain surgery was in her future. Then in high school and college, she threw herself into the performing arts and set her sights on a career as a Broadway musical comedy star!

Falling in love and getting married caused her to modify those plans somewhat, and she decided a teaching certificate and a steady paycheck might come in handy. It wasn't until she was sharing most of her waking hours with two little boys under the age of three that she thought of writing (or perhaps moving to a private room in a nice quiet mental hospital).

It was Cara's mom who saved her sanity by handing her a romance novel and saying, "Why don't you try this?"

She did, and it started her thinking. Hadn't her sixth-grade teacher told her what a good writer she was? And there was the award she'd won from the Detroit News for a short, short story she wrote when she was 16....

Was Cara instantly successful in achieving her new dream of becoming a published writer? Absolutely not! It wasn't until she'd battled her way through her fourth romance novel that she made her first sale to Harlequin Temptation.

Ten books later, is Cara happy with her new career? Absolutely! (It's only on the days when her characters are giving her trouble that she wonders if maybe brain surgery would be easier.)

Cara lives in upstate New York with her three sons. When she isn't writing, she teaches in the Writing Program at Syracuse University and at a community college near her home. Her current hobbies are reading, running, and in-line skating. You can write to her at P.O. Box 327, Dewitt, NY 13214.

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Read an Excerpt

Thursday morning—the day before Singles Weekend

This is the day I'm taking charge of my life.

At least that was the plan, Reese reminded herself as she got out of the van in the driveway of Haworth House. Shading her eyes, she glanced up at the tower, the place she and her sisters now called home. A home she'd moved all her belongings into and then allowed a ghost to scare her away from.

Not that she was afraid of Hattie Haworth herself. After all, she owed the silent film star big time for saving the lives of her two sisters and bringing them each together with a man they'd fallen in love with—Dane and Ian MacFarland. It was the fantasy she'd drawn out of Hattie's fantasy box, along with Hattie's matchmaking skill that had kept her from really settling in at Haworth House.

Well, that was going to stop. She was twenty-four years old, and Reese Brightman's M.O. was about to change. No more running away. No more letting the people who cared about her push roadblocks out of her path.

That had been the history of her life so far. She'd been a baby, her sisters a few years older when they'd lost their mother, and their father had left them in the care of the nuns at a Catholic boarding school in the south of France. Six months later, when he, too, had died, the good sisters had kept them and raised them. All of her life, there'd been people taking care of her, making her life run smoothly, eliminating obstacles when they appeared in her path.

From now on, she was going to deal with her own problems. And first on her list was taking care of the silly fantasy she'd drawn out of Hattie's fantasy box. Avery's phone call inviting her to help launch the hotel's first Singles Weekend was just the nudge she'd needed.

For starters, it allowed her to take a reprieve from her problems in L.A. Just thinking about the two anonymous notes she'd received during the last two weeks had fear bubbling up again. Ruthlessly, she shoved it down. She wasn't a wimp. She might have ignored the notes if they both hadn't been accompanied by a single black rose. It was the roses that gave her the willies.

And then there was the finicky producer of her TV cooking show, Mr. Can't-Make-Up-His-Mind Mac Davies, who after shooting three different pilots, was still waffling about the setting for the thirteen episodes they'd sold. According to her agent, Davies' staff was scouting out locations and filming was on hold until he found the perfect one. And she should be patient.

Usually, she was. Usually, she was quite willing to let events run their course. But this TV show was the biggest thing that had ever happened to her so far. And it frustrated her that Mac Davies hadn't once asked for her input. Both times she'd tried to make a personal appointment with him, he'd refused to see her. And she'd let him get away with that. Shading her eyes, she frowned up at the tower. That was the old Reese Brightman.

"Your bag, Ms. Brightman."

Reese shifted her gaze to the young man who'd driven her from the ferry.

"Would you like me to carry it into the lobby for you? "

"No thanks, Larry." Noticing the surprised look on his face, Reese smiled as she took her duffel. "I can manage." She wasn't quite ready to go inside and talk to Avery yet.

She needed to gather her thoughts and have a little chat with Hattie. As soon as the van drove away, she strode down the driveway, and after a quick look around to make sure the driveway was deserted, she pulled a parchment envelope out of her pocket, then narrowed her eyes once more on the semi-circle of windows in the tower. "Because of you, I've been avoiding this place like the plague."

As soon as the words were out, a ribbon of guilt wound its way up her spine. "Okay, okay, maybe it's not all your fault." Her schedule had been very busy— finishing her first book tour and then filming those three pilots for the hard-to-please Mac Davies.

"Part of the blame can be laid at the door of my boy-genius producer, Mac Davies. In the first pilot, I was a French pastry chef and the whole set was pink. Yuck! Then he changed his mind and turned me into a ditsy housewife giving everyday dishes a gourmet flair. Double yuck!"

Reese blinked. Had it been her imagination or had she seen a figure at one of the windows? Hattie had been pretty familiar with the L.A. scene some sixty-plus years ago. Maybe it hadn't changed all that much. Encouraged, she continued, "I've never met this producer, but my agent urged me to be patient. Evidently, Mac Davies is the guy the networks go to when they want to raise ratings. Every show he's produced so far has been an Emmy-winning hit."

Reese frowned and waved the parchment envelope. "And that is not what I want to talk to you about. It's this ridiculous fantasy."

And it was ridiculous. But telling herself that hadn't stopped a tingle of anticipation every time she thought about it.

Drawing a deep breath, she pulled the parchment out of the envelope and read the words again. You will explore all the sensual delights of having your own boy toy.

Boy toy.

Just looking at the words had her skin heating, her breath catching. The nerves in her stomach danced their way into a regular highland fling.

Tucking the parchment back into the envelope, she shot an accusing glance at the tower. "Having a boy toy has never been my fantasy."

At least it never had been before.

Frustrated, she began to pace back and forth in the driveway. "Naomi and Jillian both drew out fantasies that they'd entertained before. So I figured you'd made a mistake with me." She'd never had the time nor the inclination to…what? Play with a boy toy?

"Fantasies," she muttered. Maybe that was the way Hattie and her lover had chosen to spend their time. And that was fine. Considering what had come to light about Hattie's affair with Samuel Jenkins and its tragic ending, she didn't begrudge them any of the short time they'd had together. But she had better things to do.

"I simply don't have time for men. Been there. Done that." For the first time in years, Reese found herself remembering the man she'd met when she'd first entered Le Cordon Bleu. Charlie Dutoit had been one of her classmates. He'd been handsome and charming, and she'd been young. It had been April in Paris and she'd fallen hard. When he'd dumped her two weeks before graduation, she'd run back to the boarding school and very nearly given up on her dream of becoming a world-class chef.

That had been five years ago, and so much had happened since then. Reese stopped short and whirled to face the tower windows again. She hadn't thought of Charlie in years. So why was she thinking about him now?

She glanced down at the envelope she still held in her hand. Was she worried about more than the fantasy?

Narrowing her eyes, she shifted her gaze to the windows again. "Maybe it is more than the fantasy I'm nervous about. At first I might have stayed away because I thought you made a mistake. But I've seen what you've done with my sisters. You made a lot more than just their fantasies come true. Dane MacFarland is perfect for Naomi, and Ian is exactly right for Jillian."

Was that the real source of her skittish nerves?

She fisted her hands on her hips. "I'm not interested in having a man in my life right now."

But a boy toy…?

Even as the words formed in her mind, Reese was sure she saw two figures standing in one of the windows. Then they faded. But the words in her mind lingered.

A boy toy…

Reese glanced down at the envelope. Was it possible that she was still letting a betrayal that had happened five years ago affect her life? Was it possible that Charlie Dutoit still had her doubting her own judgment when it came to men?

Well, not anymore.

She shifted her gaze to the front door of the hotel. She held in her hand an, as yet, unfulfilled fantasy and she was going to a Singles Weekend—for better or worse.

When she glanced back up at the tower, she saw nothing but the windows. "I know you're there, Hattie, and here's the deal. I'm not letting you or anyone else push me into something I'm not ready for. I've come to help Avery launch the hotel's first Singles Weekend. If I decide to enjoy a boy toy, it will be my decision."

This is the day I'm taking charge of my life.

Reese strode to the hotel steps and took them two at a time. She had to let Avery know she was here a day early. Then they could talk about what he wanted her to contribute to his big Singles Weekend. He'd mentioned a sunset cookout on the beach, a volleyball tournament, as well as hiking and sailing day trips. And she had to firm up the cooking demo he wanted her to do on Sunday. Then, of course, there would be the big singles mixer tomorrow night that would include a chance to draw a fantasy from Hattie's box.

The door of the hotel swung open. As she dashed through it, she glanced down to see she was still holding the envelope with the fantasy she'd drawn gripped tightly in her hand. And in that moment of inattention, she ran full tilt into a solid wall of muscle and man.

Her breath whooshed out, her duffel and the envelope both went flying as she shot backward onto her butt.

For a moment, all she could do was stare at the long, denim-clad legs in front of her.

Then before she could blink or even draw in a breath, two strong hands gripped her wrists and pulled her to her feet. She was tall, but she had to glance up to meet his eyes. They were so blue, they seemed to burn right through her.

Her pulse raced frantically against the pressure of those long, lean fingers. But it wasn't just awareness that moved through her. There was a ripple of something else. Recognition?

"Sorry. Are you all right?"

Reese thought she managed a nod. But several things were distracting her. He was so big, his shoulders so broad. The hands that had moved to her upper arms were large and very male. She was very aware of the heat of them against her bare skin.

"You're sure you're all right?"

She couldn't manage more than another nod because she couldn't seem to breathe yet, and her knees felt weak. Those incredibly blue eyes held her captive, but she still noticed the handsome face with the warrior cheekbones, the strong chin. It was a wonder that the modeling industry hadn't snapped him up and made him a media star. His dark hair looked mussed as if someone had just run her hands through it.

Her hands? Even as her palms tingled, Reese felt heat rush through her—the same kind she'd felt each time she'd let herself think about the boy toy fantasy.

Her fantasy! Where was it?

"My…things."

She pulled away, dropped to her knees and glanced frantically around for the envelope. Spotting it just behind him, she reached for it at the same time he did.

When she jerked it away, she ended up with the envelope and he the message.

Panic and embarrassment raced for first place when she saw him glance down at it.

What would he think? What could she say? Her first impulse was to get to her feet and run. But she was through with that.

"Here."

She didn't have the courage to meet his eyes when she took it from his outstretched hand. But she hadn't run. "Thanks," she managed as she stuffed it into the envelope and crammed both into her pocket. Then she scrambled to her feet.

"You're sure you're all right?" he asked as he handed her the duffel.

No.

She drew in the first full breath she'd taken since she'd run into him. "Absolutely." One way or another, she was going to face head-on what life dealt her. Lifting her chin, she met his eyes.

Relief flooded her when she read nothing in his gaze. No laughter, no questions, not even curiosity. Perhaps he hadn't read the words, after all.

It's not disappointment I'm feeling. Really.

"Reese, my darling girl."

Even more relief flooded through her when she saw Avery hurrying toward her. He'd called her my darling girl from the first moment that her sister Jillian had introduced him to her, and the endearment never failed to warm her.

When she ran into his arms, he scooped her up and swung her around. "You're early."

"Only a day."

"Well, you've made mine! I can definitely use your help. I just booked the last room to one of Ian MacFar-land's old buddies from his CIA days, Cody Marsh. You remember him?"

"Of course. He helped Ian save Jillian's life. And he has a gift for sensing and often seeing ghosts, right?"

"That's him." Avery grinned at her. "He's been anxious to get back here ever since he saw Hattie's lover on the cliff walk. I think the Singles Weekend will provide him with a few more sightings."

Reese's stomach clenched. "You're expecting Hattie to play an active role, then?"

"It's her fantasy box."

Perhaps Hattie had already gotten involved. As she let Avery draw her farther into the lobby, Reese couldn't prevent herself from taking a quick look over her shoulder.

Blue Eyes was just walking out the lobby door. As she ran her gaze over the broad shoulders, the narrow waist and those long, long legs, she felt a pull. For an instant, she was so tempted to run after him that she nearly pulled her arm out of Avery's grip.

Then he was gone. And this time, she couldn't deny it was disappointment she was feeling.

"Reese? Is something wrong?"

She glanced up at Avery and managed a smile. "No."

Holding her at arm's length, he let his eyes roam over her. "It amazes me that you can always manage to look elegant in jeans and a T-shirt."

Reese made a snorting sound. "Don't you start in on me. Now that Jillian has influenced Naomi into dressing more stylishly, they're both telling me I need a new wardrobe. And I don't. Why bother when I practically live in a chef's coat, anyway?"

"Because you're a bit of a workaholic."

Reese's eyebrows shot up. "And you're not?"

"The difference is I know how to play. And you need to do more of it. Molly Pepperman, who runs the boutique in the village, is going to be a guest this weekend. I asked her to talk to you about clothes designed more for play. Just a few special pieces."

"Molly's coming as a guest?"

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