The Barrington Brothers are here! Meet Blake
Trust doesn't come easily to senator's daughter Cadence Payneespecially after her disastrous engagement. Dating is no longer at the top of her to-do list, no matter how persistent fellow attorney Blake Barrington may be. Yet the sexy, notorious lawyer makes a very convincing argument. Cadence is almost tempted to give in until Blake's implicated in a scandal and hires her to defend him!
Little by little, Blake is getting past Cadence's defenses and giving a whole new meaning to attorney-client privilege. But days and nights spent in close proximity prove dangerously distracting. If Blake loses this case, his career, Cadence's reputation and their romance will all be in jeopardy. Can he convince her to believe in him despite her fearsor is he gambling with his future and her heart?
About the Author
Nicki Night is an edgy hopeless romantic who enjoys creating stories of love and new possibilities. Nicki has a penchant for adventure and is currently working on penning her next romantic escapade. Nicki resides in the city where dreams are made of, but occasionally travels to her treasured seaside hideaway to write in seclusion. She enjoys hearing directly from readers and can be contacted on Facebook, through her website at NickiNight.com, or via email at NickiNightwrites@gmail.com.
Read an Excerpt
"You haven't had sex in how long?" Alana Tate shrieked.
Cadence Payne recoiled as her eyes darted around the bustling coffeehouse and then landed on the shocked wide-eyed expression on her closest friend's face. She couldn't believe how loud she had just said that. "Alana! " she chided, embarrassed for both of them.
"Don't Alana me!" she said, still speaking at the same volume that she had just used to let everyone in proximity know that Cadence hadn't had any in a while. "What are you waiting for? Please don't tell me you're still pining over that loser Kenny. I thought you were over him!" she said, referring to Cadence's ex-fiancé, Kenneth Dalton. "I still can't believe he married that woman so soon after you two broke off the engagement. Jerk."
"Shh!" Cadence waved her hand at Alana, urging her to lower her voice before the entire coffeehouse ended up knowing all her business. "It has nothing to do with Kenny," she found herself whispering, then rolled her eyes and sighed. She knew Alana meant well, but she needed to reel her in before she went too far. Shaking her head, she took a sip of her chai latte. "I just haven't found anyone that I'm interested in dating, let alone sleeping with."
"That's because for the past six months you've dated your job. With the time you've put into working, there's no room for anything else." Alana gave her a pitiful look. "You need to get out more."
"Well, once I make senior counsel, then maybe I'll have time for a date or two." Yeah, right. She hoped her statement would be enough to get Alana off her backeven if she didn't believe it herself. Cadence was hurt when Kenny abruptly ended their engagement. Not only did the breakup severely bruise her ego, but also she didn't know love could hurt so badly. Then Kenny poured salt into her already wounded heart when he married another woman a few short weeks after. Cadence stood, indicating that it was time to go. Grabbing her empty cup, she started for the trash can, and then headed for the door. Cadence wanted to get out of that place and away from their topic as quickly as possible, adding distance between her and the notion of dating anyone. Alana was fast on her heels.
"You're coming with me tonight!" Alana declared.
Cadence suddenly stopped walking, causing Alana to crash into her from behind. Clucking her teeth, she shook her head and started walking again. "Where are you going now?" she asked, digging in her oversize purse in search of her car keys.
"The NYAA mixer."
Cadence spun around with her hands up in protest,
Alana took in a breath and exhaled. "I know you don't like those kinds of gatherings, but you need to get out and meet some new people."
Ignoring Alana, Cadence clicked the car alarm and slid into the driver's seat. Alana sat next to her, on the passenger's side. The last place she wanted to meet someone was at a mixer full of pretentious lawyers. They reminded her of high-profile cattle calls where arrogant men waltzed around in their tailored suits trying to one-up each other with their dossier of accomplishments, while the women shamelessly put their pedigrees and other things on display for all to see. Her last ill-fated relationship was with a lawyer. Needless to say, that was not a match made in anybody's heaven.
Cadence never did fare well at these types of events. A self-proclaimed horrible networker, she shied away from them as much as she could, which is why she never joined the New York Association of Attorneys. She didn't feel comfortable in the presence of these groups. Besides being somewhat of a loner, she was also the daughter of a senator and had experienced more than her share of inauthentic relationships. Now she just tried to avoid them at all costs.
Without another word, Cadence pulled off and headed back toward her home in Garden City.
"Cadence!" Alana yelled, turning toward her in the passenger seat. "I know you hear me talking to you. It will be fun. We don't have to stay long. Besides, I'm on the board of the local chapter, so I have to at least show my face."
"No, Alana! I'm not going."
Alana grunted. "You really should give it a try. I've made so many great connections."
"I have all the connections I need. My dad is a senator, remember?"
"Your own connections " Frustrated, Alana shook her head. "Besides, it will be good for you to meet some of the members and see how we do things. You really should consider joining. You'd be a great addition."
"I'm doing fine on my own. You know social groups aren't my thing."
"It's a professional organization, not some social club." Alana blew out an irritated breath. "Well, you owe me anyway! Come tonight and we can call it even."
Cadence nearly slammed on the brakes. "Owe you for what?"
"Dragging me to your annoying cousin's party."
"Oh that." Cadence sighed, casting her eyes sideways. She had to admit, that event was a disaster. She'd felt obligated to attend because it was family but didn't want to go alone, so she'd lugged Alana along with her promising that she'd make it up to her.
"So, yeah. You owe me." Alana smiled, sitting up in her seat as if she'd just won a prize.
Cadence cut her eyes. "I still didn't say I was going." Alana turned toward Cadence and stared.
Cadence's resolve collapsed as she pulled the car to a park in front of Alana's condominium. "Okay. I'll go."
"Yay" Cadence cut Alana's celebration off with a narrowed eye and a pointed finger. "What?" Alana drew the inquiry out.
"I'm not staying more than an hour. So when I've had enough, you have to leave with me."
"Trust me. You'll have a blast." Alana leaned over and hugged her friend. "I'm driving, so I'll pick you up at six. We have to get to midtown before seven and I want to be sure to get a close parking spot."
Cadence looked at the green digital numbers illuminating the dashboard. "It's five thirty now! I have to get home, shower and find something to wear."
"See you at six," Alana reiterated with a huge smile, ignoring Cadence's alarmed expression as she exited the car. "I have to get there early. Trust me, you won't be disappointed." She slammed the door and then leaned over, gesturing for Cadence to roll down the window. Sticking her head in, she said, "Now that I'm getting you out, the next thing we need to do is get you a man so you can get laid." Alana howled at Cadence's twisted lips. Cadence rolled the window up on her and pulled off, watching Alana continue to laugh through her rearview mirror.
Blake Barrington looked at his brothers and shook his head. Both Hunter's and Drew's backs were bent as they held their stomachs, roaring at Blake's expense. At first, Blake tried not to be taken in by their antics, but couldn't help himself and eventually folded and let loose his own contained laughter.
That was the third woman in the past fifteen minutes that had practically thrown herself at Blake's feet. He wondered if his brothers were trying to prank him and actually ran his hand across his back as high as he could to make sure they hadn't posted any crazy signs. The last woman was the weirdest of all, approaching him by taking his hand in hers and kissing the back side. When she lifted her eyes to meet his, Blake wasn't sure if the dark shading over her lip was moisture from a drink or a real-life mustache. However, when he looked down at the spirally coils springing from her ample cleavage, he realized his vision wasn't failing him. From the looks of it, this woman had a robust supply of testosterone. Instinctively, his hand went to his chest and he thought about the fact that she had more hair on hers that he did on his.
"Enough already," he chided his brothers, who continued to laugh uncontrollably. Drew's eyes glistened and he fell into a coughing fit. Hunter had to pound him on the back a few times. Blake shook his head and called the waitress over and ordered another round.
When Drew was able to regain his composure, he straightened his back, wiped his tears and breathed deep. "Sorry, bro. I couldn't help myself. Your Sasquatch radar is obviously on the blink. I wish you could have seen your own eyes when they landed on her mustache." Drew fell into another fit of laughter.
"Don't worry, man" Hunter placed a reassuring hand on Blake's shoulder "big brother will show you how it's done," he said, picking up the snifter of whiskey the voluptuous barmaid had just placed on the counter. Passing one glass to each brother, he said, "Cheers," and lifted the blend in the air for a toast before throwing back a healthy sip.
They had met at the trendy lounge early enough to share a drink together before the NYAA mixer started. Hunter and Blake had followed their father's example of becoming attorneys. At twenty-nine, Hunter was the oldest with Blake trailing him by eleven months. Drew, the baby of the crew, was two years Blake's junior and the rebel of the family. Despite acquiring his JD, he opted to pursue his passion in the world of motorcycles instead of practicing law. His championship races and award-winning designs graced the pages of the most popular motorcyclingenthusiast magazines.
Taking notice of the growing crowd, Blake looked at his watch. Throwing back his last sip of whiskey, he winced at the favorable burn and placed the glass back down on the bar. "We should get going." Blake led the brothers through the dimly lit lounge down to the lower level, where the mixer was actually taking place.
Nodding at a few familiar faces along the way, Blake narrowed his eyes in search of other members of the board. He had recently been elected as a director on the executive board to replace his predecessor, who had just resigned due to relocating. Their father had always told them to be sure to rub elbows with the right people. It certainly helped him become a judge. After taking in the scene and surveying the women, Blake took a seat next to his brothers at the bar.
"Who's that?" Drew's eyes were stretched wide. Blake's and Hunter's eyes followed his line of sight. When they noticed whom Drew was inquiring about, simultaneously they reared their heads back.
"Stay away from her. Ask Blake," Hunter said.
"Her name is Mandy, and it took me six months to get her to stop randomly showing up at my door with lingerie on under an overcoat."
Drew raised his brow. "You must have really put it on her," he said, smiling and resting his back against the bar.
"Actually, no. I was dating her friend and she had obviously shared a few details with her about our eh encounters. Once we stopped dating, that's when Mandy started showing up talking about how much she'd heard about me and wanted to experience a few things for herself." Blake angled his back toward Mandy, who seemed to be walking in their direction.
"Is she a lawyer, too?" Drew asked.
"Yeah, but she just joined the organization," Hunter added.
"Wow. All those brains and she's still crazy. Ha!" Drew slapped his leg at his own remark.
"Yeah. That's why I've sworn off dating other lawyers.
It's not cool sleeping with a woman and the next morning you find yourself sitting on the opposite side of the negotiation table and your clients are at war with each other," Blake said, thinking of a similar encounter with the last attorney he dated.
"That's just awkward," Drew said, raising a brow.
"Yeah. And it's happened more than once," Hunter added.
"Whoa!" Drew raised his fist to his mouth as the brothers joined together in laughter once again.
"Hey, Blake." Alana rose on her toes to give Hunter a friendly hug before turning to his brother. "Hey, Hunter, Drew," she acknowledged, and hugged them, too.
After Alana's greeting, Blake zoned out. Well, it wasn't entirely his fault. It was the goddess who stood immediately behind Alana that had captured his attention and momentarily rendered him deaf and mute.
Alana reached behind herself and pulled the woman to her side. If she hadn't looked so disinterested, Blake would have made his intentions clear right then and there, but, sensing her attitude, he decided he'd let things play out before making his move.
Shaking his head, Blake jumped back into the conversation. He was almost annoyed with himself at how he'd let a single look at this beautiful woman throw him off guard.
"What did you say your name was?" he asked the woman, holding his hand out to shake hers. A bland smile spread across her beautiful heart-shaped lipsone that told him she really wasn't interested in being here. Despite the lack of enthusiasm, she managed to spark a rise in him that he hadn't expected.
Her soft voice caressed Blake's ear ever so slightly, giving rise to several parts of him, as if she'd teased him with an actual touch. Blake was caught in the sheer femininity of it. It actually took him a moment to respond. "Beautiful name. Pleasure to meet you, Cadence." Blake brought the back of her hand to his lips and kissed it gently and then flashed what he hoped was a winning sexy smile potent enough to put a dent in that attitude of hers.
"Pleasure," she said dryly, and pulled her hand back.
This one had a hard exterior, Blake concluded. He wasn't worried about that. He'd never had a problem breaking through women's exteriors before, no matter how tough they tried to be. Women often melted under the Barrington brothers' influence. The brothers were hot commodities, and had even been featured in a special issue of one of the local magazines as some of the most eligible bachelors in the greater metropolitan area.
"So, how has it been going so far? Has our speaker arrived?" Alana asked, rising to her toes to look over the crowd.
"Not that I know of," Blake responded, still looking at Cadence, who had been trying to avoid his stare.
"Okay. I'll check it out. Be right back." Before Blake or Hunter could reply, Alana was off through the crowd, mingling, smiling and waving at familiar faces in the distance.
Instead of following her, Cadence took a seat at the far end of the bar. Blake took her aloof demeanor as a sign to let her be for just a while, but there was no way he was going to let her leave there without getting her number.
"Are you done?" Drew said as he and Hunter grinned.
"Huh?" Blake said, realizing their eyes were on him awaiting a response. "What?"
"He asked, 'are you done?'" Hunter yelled over the noise of the growing crowd.
"What do you mean?"
"Are you done lapping her up with your eyes, man?" Drew laughed. "She doesn't seem interested."
"What?" Blake grunted. "Not interested in me!" He feigned surprise as if Drew's assessment was completely ridiculous. "Dude, do you know who I am?" he asked, touching his chest in disbelief. "I'm Blake Barrington! You better ask around," he teased. Hunter and Drew dismissed him with waves of their hands.
"Well, she doesn't seem to care," Drew responded. "Seems like she's got a bit of an attitude anyway. Do you know if she's an attorney also?"
"I know she is," Hunter answered.
Blake's head spun in his brother's direction based on his response. "You know her?" He wondered what he may have missed during the introductions when he had been arrested by her pouty lips, nice hips, caramel skin, perfect breasts and long legs.
"You know her, too," Hunter said, holding his finger up at the bartender for another round. He nodded, confirming her acknowledgment before turning his attention back to Blake. "That's Senator Payne's daughter. I've never actually met her up close and personal, but I know that face."
Blake's shoulders slumped in disappointment upon finding out that she was also an attorney. He'd been serious when he'd vowed to stop dating women in the same profession. It never worked out for him. He even wondered how he'd never run into her before. New York City was a crowded metropolis, but many of its circles ran small.
"Hey!" The high-pitched shriek snatched his attention away from his thoughts about Cadence.
Before he could fully turn himself around, he felt the softness of a woman's body pressed up against the back of him. The familiar, sweet essence of lilies wafted from Jasmine Lee's almond skin. He found himself smothered in her arms as she closed them tightly around him.
"What's up, baby?" Jasmine said, turning him around, grabbing him by his cheeks and then pulling him down to herright into her full, indulgent baby-pink lips.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Great read, looking forward to reading the other books in this series.
The book was a good read! I can't wait to read the next!
The last thing on Cadence Payne’s mind is falling in love especially after following her negative relationship with her ex-fiance, Kenneth Dalton. Enters Blake Barrington, Attorney-at-law with looks and style that would send any woman climbing the walls. When a scandal erupts, Cadence & Blake are forced to work together in more ways than one. Will Cadence finally let her guards down? Is there more to Blake Barrington than meets the eye? Author Nicki Night does an outstanding job creating characters with a dynamic chemistry that you could feel bouncing off the pages as you read this book. We all have experience a time in our lives when we have given on love, and love has disappointed us. But we learn to let our guards down there is always something beautiful waiting on the other side. I will take one Barrington Brother to go… Thank you very much!
So... this was my first Nikki Night read and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The story was so very well written. The emotions were palpable and all over the place. Take Blake Barrington, intelligent, good looking, wealthy, giving, and with just enough swagger and arrogance to make him bleed sexy. And Cadence Payne, intelligent, beautiful, and local royalty, with just enough self doubt, skittishness, and quietness to go unnoticed. Ironically, I really felt sorry for Blake and tended to side with him as I thought he was the underdog in all this. As smart as Cadence was and as an attorney she didn't practice first rule of a good attorney; innocent until proven guilty (when to hit close to home). Blake, the Adonis that he was, didn't fare well when he was knocked from his proverbial pedestal legally and personally. Through Blake's persistence, at the end of the day he and Cadence were both convicted of their feelings for each other. I cannot wait for Hunter's story!! Already preordered!!