For the first time in her life, art therapist Lucia Lewis is ready to live. And the masquerade ball in Las Vegas is just the place to find a ridiculously hot guy to complete her wicked to-do list. The only rule? Her elegant Venetian mask-which conceals the scars that have always held her back from the life she deserves-stays on.
Navy SEAL Cade Daniels heads to Vegas on a mission to keep his best friend's little sister out of trouble. Except the woman he's sent to find is all heat and flame...and perfectly capable of handling herself. And him. But the moment Lucia's mask slips, the need to heal her, body and soul, is complete and absolute temptation.
But revealing himself could cost him the one thing he isn't willing to risk...his heart.
Each book in the Sin City SEALS series is a standalone, full-length story that can be enjoyed out of order.
Book #1 To Tempt a SEAL
Book #2 To Dare A SEAL
Book #3 To Seduce a SEAL
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About the Author
After several years on the other side of the publishing industry, Sara Jane Stone bid goodbye to her sales career to pursue her dream-writing romance novels. Armed with a firm belief that dreams do come true, Sara Jane sat down at her keyboard to write fun, sexy stories like the ones she loved to read.
Sara Jane currently resides in Brooklyn, New York with her very supportive real-life hero, two lively young children, and a lazy Burmese cat. When she is not finger painting with the kids, she loves writing sexy stories, staying up past her bedtime reading red-hot romance, and chatting with her readers on Facebook.
Read an Excerpt
To Tempt a SEAL
A Sin City SEALs Novel
By Sara Jane Stone, Heather Howland, Stephen Morgan
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2015 Sara Jane Stone
All rights reserved.
Dresses like this lead to fantasy sex in a Vegas hotel room.
Lucia stood in front of the hotel room's full-length mirror and repeated her new mantra, determined to erase the what ifs that had followed her around for the past few weeks. What if she arrived in Vegas and the designer creation no longer fit like a second skin? What if she looked in the hotel room mirror and saw the girl she'd been six month ago? Overweight. Afraid ...
She forced herself to look at her reflection in the mirror. She was still more curvy than model-thin, but the red bandage-style cocktail dress would disguise any remaining flaw. Her gaze stopped just short of her face, the one thing no amount of dieting or exercise would hide. Thank God tonight's party had a Venetian Carnival theme — masks required. Identities secret. Flaws hidden. Anyone she met tonight wouldn't have to know who she was. Who she used to be.
She placed her mask over her face and looked at herself again.
The dress offered promises of heated glances across a crowded restaurant. And later, strong male hands determined to peel the fabric off her body. One look at this dress and the man of her fantasies would fall to his knees and give her an orgasm that she would remember for the rest of her life.
This would work. This had to work.
Of course, she first had to leave her hotel suite and find Mr. Fantasy. She picked up her clutch and headed for the door, armed with her wallet, a strip of condoms, and the pink Post-it note she'd written the night she'd decided to attend the restaurant opening. Her top four fantasies. If — no, when — she found the right man, she would check off the items on her list one by one.
Navigating the hotel's mazelike casino floor in her heels proved a challenge, but she made it to Glitterati, Vegas's newest and hottest Italian restaurant. And then she froze.
It looked as if everyone had jumped at the chance to wear a mask. Waiters moved through the crowd, offering bubbly and bite-size samples from the chef's menu. Hundreds of beautiful people milled about the space.
She reached up and touched her mask. Tonight, she belonged with them. For the first time in ten years, she could blend in with a crowd.
Her fingers found the place where the hand-painted creation from Venice stopped, revealing her skin. The dimensions needed to be just right to hide the jagged scars on her right cheek that sent men running away from her instead of wondering how she'd look in their bed. Even now, she couldn't believe what had possessed her foster father to take a knife to her face. But tonight, she would escape that dark past and the fear that no one wanted her. No one desired her.
This was her chance to step outside the box she'd built around her sheltered life. Tonight, all her months of planning, exercising, denying herself her go-to comfort foods — tonight, it would all pay off.
Tonight, someone would race toward her.
Tonight, she would live her life.
She stepped into Glitterati, accepted a glass from a waiter, and headed for the back, where the series of abstract paintings hung on the walls. She'd never met the artist, but she'd been a fan of his work since she started painting.
Vibrant colors streaked across the canvas in a layered chaos. The paintings spoke to the type of life she dreamed about living. The kind of person she wished she could be — bold and daring.
"Don't tell me you came for the artwork," a deep, masculine voice said from behind her. She closed her eyes briefly, sucking in a sharp breath at the sound that seemingly had a direct line to the parts of her body craving male attention.
Wow, that was fast. Good job, dress.
"What else would I come for?" she replied without turning to face him.
"I don't know about you, but my eye's been on a table filled with chocolate five feet away," the mystery man said.
Chocolate. She opened her eyes. Melt-in-your-mouth sugary goodness came a close second to orgasms on her list of wants.
"What kind of chocolate?" She kept her gaze fixed on the bold red brushstrokes running through the center of the first painting.
He chuckled. "I didn't look too closely. Does it matter?"
"The details are always important." Like if the man behind her filled out his suit with a body that promised to make her dreams for tonight a reality. "Milk chocolate tastes different from dark. Do they have fillings that melt in your mouth or ones that explode with flavor?"
She felt him move closer. His heat merging with hers. Without the mask, she might have caught a glimpse of him from the corner of her eye, enough to know if the man matched the panty-melting voice.
"You like things that explode in your mouth?" he said, the words a low growl in her ear.
"Yes." This man could read the phone book and leave her breathless and brimming with desire. But she wanted more than words tonight.
So she turned to face him.
And oh, God help her, she needed a taste of this man. Her lips refused to form the words "but I'm partial to caramel," because one look and she was partial to him.
Mr. Panty-Melting Voice had a body that begged to be explored, worshipped, and painted. From his square jaw to the way he filled out his tuxedo, he looked as if he was auditioning to be the next James Bond. Maybe he was. This was Vegas, only a hop, skip, and a jump from Hollywood. And in her humble opinion, his short brown hair and green eyes were a lethal combination.
Move over, Daniel Craig ...
"I've been watching you stare at those paintings for the last few minutes," he said, his full lips offering a hint of a smile beneath his plain black mask. "Without even glancing at the chocolate fountain."
"There's a fountain?" She heard the note of longing in her voice. Chocolate, carbs — those had topped the list of diet no-no's for the past six months. But tonight, everything was on the table.
"Yes. You might have noticed if you had moved from this spot. So I have to ask, are you waiting for your date? A boyfriend?"
"No." Her breath caught on the one word. This man had to be someone — a movie star, a model, the perfect male specimen — he couldn't be for her.
But the thought of walking away and finding another man to explore her fantasies? Impossible. In her mind, she would hear this stranger's voice. She'd spend the next forty-eight hours craving the deep sound, wishing she could listen to him murmur sweet nothings in her ear as they acted out her fantasies — or even better, his fantasies. If she walked away from him now, she would spend every minute until sunrise wondering about his top four, though she had a feeling he didn't carry around a pink Post-it note with his wicked desires spelled out.
"Good," he said, exuding honest-to-God charisma as he offered his arm. "Would you care to join me for a drink from the fountain?"
She placed her hand on his forearm and felt his muscles through the layers of his tux. Seriously, what did this man do that left him with a body to rival Hollywood's finest?
Chocolate first, then questions, she decided. If he said "serial killer," she'd at least have something to drown her sorrows. "So ..."
Oh, crap, she hadn't asked his name.
"Cade," he supplied, guiding her through the maze of masked people toward the milk-chocolate fountain surrounded by a mountain of eat-me-now goodness.
"Lucia." The last trace of tension she'd sensed earlier faded when she said her name. "So Cade, did you come for the art or the chocolate?"
"Gorgeous, I came to find you."CHAPTER 2
Not much distracted U.S. Navy SEAL Cade Daniels from a mission. But he could watch Lucia eat chocolate all night. And with each bite, his reasons for being there slipped farther away from his mind. The way her full lips wrapped around the strawberry left him picturing all the things she could do with her mouth. She licked the creamy coating off the berry and sighed as if the taste was a one-way ticket to the explosion she craved.
His jaw tightened, and he looked away from her lips. He'd approached the masked bombshell with a decidedly sinful fantasy in mind, but as soon as she told him her name, he'd realized he might have bitten off more than he could chew.
There was a chance he'd found the wrong Lucia. Watching her right now, a damn good one. This woman didn't come close to his best friend's description of her shy, reclusive sister from Tennessee.
The Lucia before him had curves that rivaled a fifties pinup's. He could spend a week worshipping her breasts with his mouth before moving south to explore her full hips and perfect ass. When he reached her shapely legs, he'd run his mouth up her thighs for a taste ...
Fuck me. He closed his eyes as she reached for a third strawberry. If this really is Natalie's sister, I can't touch her. I promised to obey the freaking best friend code.
And he knew better than to go back on his word. Natalie, the feisty bartender who'd been his best friend from the moment he'd set foot in Coronado for BUD/S training, had extracted a promise when she'd called and begged him to spend his first night back in Sin City keeping an eye on her little sister. Natalie had offered a long explanation about an email from Lucia detailing her sibling's plan to pick up a stranger at a Vegas restaurant opening. Even though Natalie had had him from her first heartfelt "please," coupled with a "you owe me," he'd listened patiently, gathering information.
Plus, she was right. He had a debt to pay. He'd wanted a dog but was away from home too often to care for an animal. Natalie had agreed to semi-joint custody of Mufasa, the Great Pyrenees rescue he was pretty sure she didn't want. So he'd listened and asked for details about his target.
He could still hear the way his best friend had described her sister.
Lucia isn't your pretty, party girl type. She hates people looking at her. And she's always struggled with her weight. Picking up a guy in Vegas? That is not something Lucia would do. I'm worried she'll end up cut into little pieces and dumped in the desert.
If the masked woman was in fact Natalie's little sister and not her goddess impostor, he needed to work on his best friend's definition of beautiful.
"So, Cade," she said, her brown eyes fixed on the fountain as she dipped another strawberry. "What brings you to Vegas?"
A visit to my still bitter dad. Still bitter about what? Oh, that. Well, Mom left him ten years ago when he made it clear she'd never be as important to him as the Navy.
Didn't that say it all? Cade had held a grudge against his dad for years, but now Cade was just as dedicated to the Navy. He knew from watching his parents' marriage disintegrate that being a SEAL didn't leave room for a real relationship. He'd heard enough from his teammates on their last mission about how their wives struggled with their long deployments. Hell, Dante was probably using the downtime to file for divorce after coming home and catching his wife with the plumber.
Relationships were out. But a weekend of debauchery in Vegas with the woman in front of him? Hell, yes.
"I came to Vegas looking for a good time," he said, tracking her movements. He needed to get a grip on his interest and start asking the questions. He had to be damn sure he'd found the right woman.
"Good answer." Her mask covered everything but her eyes and lips. He wanted to see more, to read her expressions.
"And when you're not partying in Vegas, what do you do?" she asked. "Prepare for your role as the next James Bond?"
"No, I don't work alone."
She cocked her head as if trying to make sense of his words.
"I'm a SEAL in Uncle Sam's Navy. When I'm working, I have a team of guys who could kick James Bond's ass watching my back, covering my six at all times."
The honest answer seemed best. If she really was Natalie's sister, then the fewer lies he told her the better. But Natalie had made it clear her little sister would run if Lucia suspected he was there out of pity for his best friend's supposedly shy, overweight sibling.
She lowered the half-eaten berry. "I'm familiar with the SEALs. My sister lives near Coronado. She's a bartender at Bottoms Up. Have you heard of it?"
"Yes, I have." And just like that, he had confirmation. This gorgeous woman was his mission, and not in a way that would satisfy the parts of his body begging to get acquainted with her curves.
"Have you ever been down to visit?" he asked.
"No." She shook her head, her long, straight black hair moving over her bare back. In another city, her red dress would have bordered on indecent. The fabric hugged her breasts, the sweetheart neckline dipping in just the right place to present a peek at her cleavage.
The front offered one helluva view. But the back blew his mind. A thick band of red fabric ran across her middle back, hiding her bra. But below that? A valley of bare skin down to the top of her perfect ass.
"This is my first trip in a while. What about you? You're a ways from home, aren't you?" she added, stepping away from him and closer to the chocolate, as if she sensed a wall rising up between them.
"From base," he said. "But I grew up in Vegas. My dad still lives here, about a fifteen-minute drive from the Strip."
The tension in her mouth faded. Cade had a feeling he would have a love/hate relationship with that mask by the end of the night. He was all for fun and games — hell, if she wasn't off-limits, he'd suggest trading it in for a blindfold — but the mask was also a barrier to reading her.
"So you're not just in Vegas looking for a good time," she said.
"I'm heading out to see my dad. But not tonight," he said. "What about you? Why are you here?"
"I came for the art. The chocolate is a bonus."
He closed the space between them and took the wooden skewer from her hand. He stabbed another strawberry and held it under the chocolate, twirling it back and forth. When it was covered, he held it up to her lips. "Art and chocolate. That's all you're looking for tonight?"
"No." She lapped at the creamy covering, swirling her tongue around the tip. It was mesmerizing. The way she savored each drop of chocolate, licking the damn thing clean before sinking her teeth into it. Strawberry juice covered her lips, and he fought the urge to steal a taste.
Screw art and chocolate. She'd come to Vegas to drive him insane.
"I came to Vegas to take risks," she said slowly, her voice low as if divulging a secret. "To try new things and find out if I'm as good with my mouth as I am with a paintbrush."
She winked at him, and his cock instantly stiffened. Jesus.
"I could help you with that," he heard himself saying, as though he had no control over himself any longer. Not with her. A neon warning sign that rivaled the lights on the famous Strip outside flashed in his mind. He could show her around, but learning what she could do with her mouth? He couldn't go there. But still he couldn't stop himself from saying, "I could be your guy."
Where had that come from? He knew better, but around her, it was like he'd lost every shred of willpower to resist temptation. To resist her.
She cocked an eyebrow. "Are you married?"
He chuckled. "No." As long as he was in the Navy, commitment wasn't in the cards for him. He wasn't about to follow in his father's footsteps. His father's commitment had ruined his mother. Cade wasn't about to put anyone through that.
"In a relationship?" she asked.
"I'm a SEAL, gorgeous. That hasn't left much time for anything else."
She smiled at him, her dark eyes sparkling with wanton need. "I think —"
Cade tore his gaze away from Lucia and focused on the newcomer, a tall man with salt-and-pepper hair. His suit looked expensive, but what did Cade know about clothes? Natalie had arranged for a rented tux to arrive at his hotel room this morning, and he'd agreed to wear it because he didn't have another option. His Navy whites would have been out of place in Vegas.
"Herman Schwartz," the man said. "I'm an art dealer in New York."
"Nice to meet you, Mr. Schwartz." Lucia held out her hand.
"Ms. Lewis, I assume you're here for the art."
"Mostly," she murmured.
"I was admiring the paintings when I saw you out of the corner of my eye. I have clients looking for similar pieces. Many would love to have yours."
Excerpted from To Tempt a SEAL by Sara Jane Stone, Heather Howland, Stephen Morgan. Copyright © 2015 Sara Jane Stone. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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