I always read my books when I first get them. Guess I'll never get over that amazing feeling that I actually wrote the story inside those covers...still feels surreal with each book...
I'm reading HOT NIGHTS WITH A PLAYBOY at the moment and I have to say, it's one of my favourites. I love the banter between Judd and Abby, childhood friends who are now very hot lovers! And Tom and Tara, the secondary characters, are a hoot too. Love it!
So here's the snippet I promised:
Judd had never been a party guy.
Give him the plains of Africa or the jungles of South America any day. Sahara winds, Amazonian deluges, Asian typhoons…he loved the elements, loved the freedom, always had. He never felt whole unless he had a camera in his hand, capturing the animals that had held him enthralled since he’d opened his first text book at school and seen a huge, scary gorilla with bared teeth staring back at him from the page.
It had been his dream from that day on.
A dream that had evolved, developed, and landed him here, smack bang in babe heaven.
Taking a seat at a table near the bar he watched some of the models boogying on the dance floor and knew that partying definitely had something going for it. The exclusive resort was a walking advertisement for the hottest women on the planet and he wouldn’t be male if he didn’t notice and appreciate the luscious scenery.
As if on cue, Abby walked into the room and his mouth went dry.
In a flash he was transported back to the night of the high school dance and the precise moment he’d laid eyes on her in her first formal dress, a blue satin number with the tiniest of straps and outlandish puffy skirt, tottering down her porch steps towards him in ridiculous heels. She’d taken his breath away, the vision imprinted on his brain forever.
Friends weren’t meant to look like that!
With the dress outlining her body, glossy brown hair piled high with a few curling tendrils framing her face…that face, her blue eyes shining at him with pleasure and more than a hint of mystery in their depths.
And what had he done?
Fired the usual barbs her way, teased her mercilessly, while she stared at him with her beautiful eyes, sucking him in deeper and deeper till he couldn’t think straight let alone be responsible for his actions. So he’d done the only thing any normal, eighteen-year-old guy would have done.
He’d kissed her.
Correction, he’d pounced on her like some maniac, half expecting her to slap him silly. Instead she’d responded like a tigress, fuelling his passion till his hormones warred with his common sense in a raging battle. Fortunately, his common sense won and he’d played the whole incident down, laughing it off as an experiment between two friends trying to prove they’d just entered the world of grown-ups.
Now, staring at Abby in a fitted black halter dress outlining her curvy body to perfection, with her hair piled in a similar arrangement to that fateful night, he wondered if he’d been so fortunate after all.
He stood up and waved her over, drawing a chair out as she neared the table, unable to tear his eyes away from her.
“Not bad,” he murmured in her ear as she sat down, her light floral fragrance beckoning him closer and he pulled back with effort, resisting an irrational urge to place a kiss behind her ear.
She’d always loved it and the scent had haunted him over the years, a poignant reminder of her.
“Is that a compliment, Calloway?”
She’d used a minimum of makeup, just enough to highlight her eyes which glowed luminous in the reflected light from the lit torches around the perimeter of the room as he wondered if they’d always been that blue, that incandescent.
“Call me Judd,” he said, unable to quell the urge to flirt, hoping she’d join in the swing of things.
She batted her eyelashes, designed to tease. “In that case you can call me Abby.”
Judd smiled and reached out to run his hand slowly down her arm in a gesture that was part-friendly, part-daring, enjoying the flare of awareness in her eyes.
Maybe it was the balmy breeze, maybe it was the illusion of being secluded away on a tropical island and far enough away from reality, maybe it was the newfound heat sizzling between them: whatever it was, he wanted to push the boundaries of their friendship and see what happened.
“Abby. What a beautiful name. Conjures up all sorts of images like ancient stone churches surrounded by overgrown cottage gardens with oak trees reaching up to the endless blue sky the same colour as your eyes…”
Abby snorted and rolled her eyes. “Hey! I’m not one of your bimbos. You don’t have to lay it on that thick!”
Judd laughed and shrugged. “Can’t blame a guy for trying. So, what does the name Judd conjure up for you?”
He wondered if she’d take the bait and remember what she’d once told him all those years ago. By the glint in her eyes she wouldn’t disappoint.
“That’s easy, Judd Kane Calloway. A long, thin reed used to put cheeky boys like you back in their place.”
She reached over and tweaked his nose like she used to, resurrecting instant memories of their childhood years and reminding him of how long they’d been friends.
“Now, what does a girl have to do to get a drink in this place?”
“Let me guess, the usual?”
Her blue eyes sparkled with characteristic cheek while her lips curved in a coy smile he’d never seen before. “Nah…I’m feeling reckless tonight. Surprise me.”
As if noticing how stunning she looked wasn’t enough torture she had to go and throw him a curve ball like that. If he didn’t know better, he’d say she was definitely flirting with him again?
But that couldn’t be right. Abby teased him, riled him, and jibed at him but flirt?
This tropical air was definitely getting to him.
He called a waiter over, placed their orders including a cocktail for her guaranteed to regain the upper hand and leaned back in his chair.
“Nice outfit, by the way. Glad to know you take my advice so seriously.”
His greedy gaze skimmed the black silk clinging to her curves, ending just above her knees, accentuating her tiny waist, outlining her breasts…
He sat up and sent a frantic glance in the waiter’s direction, wishing their drinks would arrive ASAP.
He needed cooling down, badly.
“You think I wore this for you?”
If her smile had been coy before it turned positively smug now. “Still delusional from all that African heat, huh?”
He couldn’t back down from the challenge in her eyes even though continuing this conversation would only make it harder for him to view her as ‘just friends’ material.
He’d never backed down from one of her challenges and he’d be damned if he would now. Besides, he liked a hint of danger. Kept things interesting.
Reaching out to smooth an imaginary crease from the silk draped like liquid lava across her lower thigh, he said, “Well, I did say wear something sexy and boy, does this dress deliver.”
“Clothes maketh the woman and all that?”
She had him there.
If he agreed she’d know he thought she was sexy. If he disagreed he looked like a heel.
Thankfully, the waiter arrived as he wracked his brain for a quick response and deposited an icy beer in front of him and a wicked concoction of Cointreau, Galliano, pineapple juice and cream in a champagne glass for Abby.
She took a sip, her eyes widening imperceptibly as a faint pink stained her cheeks. “On second thoughts, don’t answer that. It’s got a kick like a mule and perhaps it’s better I don’t know. What my liver doesn’t know won’t hurt it.”
Struggling to keep a triumphant smile off his face, he said, “A Hot Dream.”
To his immense satisfaction, the pink in her cheeks deepened to crimson.
“Mmm…nice,” she murmured, her gaze firmly focused on the cherry stuck on the end of paper umbrella wedged precariously on the edge of her glass.
Her non-committal answer only spurred him on and he chugged on his beer before taking his stirring one step further.
“So, you like hot dreams, huh?”
Her blue-eyed gaze flew to his and for a split second he could’ve sworn he glimpsed a flicker of desire there before she quickly masked it with her telltale sass.
Raising her glass in his direction, she said, “The drink’s great. As for the rest you’ll never know.”