What better way to choose a great book for your weekend escape than by reading a sexy excerpt?
Hence my feature, CABR Presents Temptation Thursdays
A When Honey Got Married… Novella
Eve hoped to make one last play for the groom-who-got-away…but instead the down-on-her-romantic-luck actress instead found herself in dark corners with his successful, seductive cousin.
Anna Cleary’s introduction to her TEMPTATION THURSDAYS excerpt from “Eve Met Her Match”:
This is the tale of Honey’s and Brent’s Wedding Rehearsal Dinner. All Eve cares about is the groom. Some gossipy folks in Bellefleur may think of Eve as a heartless siren, but they don’t know the real Eve.
She’s loved Brent for so long, watching him marry Honey will break her lonely heart, unless she can find a way to win him back. Eve has a shaky plan, but then she meets Brent’s cousin Rainer. Rainer is pure, undiluted devil.
Rainer was scanning her face, his eyes gleaming with a warmer light than usual.
“Cheer up, now, gorgeous. You can’t win ’em all. Flirtini,” he told the barman. “Make mine bourbon.” He smiled at Eve. “You look like a vodka woman to me.”
Eve made an effort to pick herself up off the floor.
“I don’t know why you would assume that. I hardly drink at all, except at wakes. Train crashes. Tragedies.” She swiveled her chair so she could keep Brent in view, though it was hard to keep Brent and eliminate Honey at one and the same time. “Times of mourning and terrible heartbreak.”
“Must have to do with those Fifth Avenue shoes you’re wearing.”
She noticed Rainer’s gaze drift down to her Louboutins. At least it was gratifying someone had noticed them. Almost automatically she crossed her legs, but then—damn—her skirt rode up too high and she needed to uncross them. Then she dangled a shoe from her toes and let her foot swing some.
Maybe it seemed flirty, but her heart wasn’t in it. It was a mere primitive reflex. With so many of the town gossips present, it seemed a pity to disappoint her public.
And she could tell Rainer wasn’t minding one bit. He scanned her knees, a smile playing on his mouth. “You know, it was touching, that little sigh you gave.”
She glanced warily at him. “What sigh?”
“When Brent pecked your pretty cheek. What were you for hoping for? Something more significant? Maybe a kiss full on the lips? Deep and soulful? Tongues?”
Her spine stiffened in shock. This guy was up-front. Did he have any respect for a woman’s tender feelings? If one of the Dixon sisters hadn’t sidled up to the bar right then and ensconced herself a couple of spots along, Eve might have forgotten her manners and slammed him for his nerve.
As it was, she kept her words to a stern murmur. “You are rude, mister. I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Yes, you do. You know. Don’t think I don’t sympathize. I know what it is to lust.” His gaze rested appreciatively on her mouth.
“Shh.” Frowning, she darted a glance along to where Jenna Mae Dixon was stretching her gawky neck, straining to listen.
Forced to lean closer to Rainer, Eve lowered her voice to a whisper. “Don’t even say that word. There’s never been anything like that between Brent and me.”
His black brows lifted. “No? Didn’t I hear him say you were his secretary?”
Beneath his black lashes his eyes were alert, amused, and unnerving. The faintest of scents teased her nostrils. A mix of woody cologne, clean clothes, and distilled essence of man. It was annoying how that trifled with her concentration. It nearly threw her off the track of her thoughts.
“What’s your point? I assure you,” she retorted, pulling herself together, “Brent is a very professional guy who would never break his code of ethics.”
“Never?” His mouth quirked in disbelief.
Unless, of course, a kiss could be counted. Tongues at midnight. Hands.
“We—e—ell. If you say so.” Rainer pressed his lips together, then gave his bourbon a meditative sip. His mouth was really very stirring and expressive, the lower lip pleasingly cushioned, suggesting an arousing resilience if a woman happened to…
She gave herself a mental shake. For Pete’s sake, she wasn’t thinking of kissing him. “Why look so doubtful, Rainer? Brent is a very focused person. Even if he felt strongly and irrevocably attracted to an employee, even if he longed to kiss her, yearned to caress her soft skin, itched to put his hand on her…on her…he wouldn’t dream of…”
“He must have the resistance of a saint.” His voice was darker than the night.
His glance met hers, sensual, bold, then slid down her throat to where her breasts were innocently longing to expose themselves. Against all the odds, her skin tingled as if singed by a naked flame.
It threw her off-balance, if the truth be known. On the one hand there was Brent across the room, holding a piece of her heart in his hands, and now here was Rainer. Powerful, masculine, and entirely confusing to the senses.
She couldn’t ever remember this degree of confusion before. Being held captive by the sheer force of a man’s physical aura. It was a whole new experience, and strangely exhilarating.
Maybe it was the drink affecting her brain. She composed her face to appear more stern. “He didn’t need the resistance of a saint. I don’t know what you expect from your women em—”
She’d meant to say “women employees,” but before she could finish he cut in smoothly, his voice as deep and dark as the devil’s. “Loyalty undiluted and passion uninhibited.” He smiled.
That smile reflected in his eyes with a message that was nothing short of bad.
“Oh, please.” She gave a mocking laugh, but a sultry shiver slithered down her spine to the backs of her knees. It was hard to deny that the guy had impact.
“I’m not criticizing you, Eve.” His wolfish gaze flicked to her throat, then drifted southward. In spite of their proud history of aloofness, against all the odds her nipples stood up and quivered shamelessly. “I totally understand. If two very attractive people are forced by circumstances to be together in close confinement, bumping into each other, hips occasionally touching, he accidentally brushes her breast, she grazes his thigh with hers, it’s only a matter of time before…”
“But nothing did happen.” How she wished people wouldn’t always leap to conclusions. She’d been hung for so many sheep in the past, when she’d hardly ever done more than pet the woolly heads of the little lambs who’d pursued her.
And purely out of kindness, so as not to hurt their feelings. “Well, nothing much,” she felt forced to amend.
“Ah.” Rainer’s eyes lit with a knowing amusement that riled her.
“Oh, what’s with that ‘ah’? Look—I freely admit, I admired Brent’s stance on environmental issues.”
Rainer broke into a laugh. “His stance?” It was amazing to see how a laugh lit up the man’s face and warmed his gray eyes. She could see why that Dixon cousin had gone so entirely overboard from the bridge.
Rainer was a stunner.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Anna Cleary is an affectionate Australian who discovered that writing is an even more powerful means of escape than reading. To this end she writes romance novels that are flirty and funny, sometimes weepy or dramatic, always emotional, and often piping hot.
Anna enjoys her family and friends, adores music and the arts, has an ongoing love affair with Italy, and is kept under constant surveillance by a thoughtful and deeply sensitive cat.
She loves to hear from readers.
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