Today’s snippet is from Carly Phillips latest release Dare to Love a book that Heather has all sorts of mad love for. You will too after reading Ian and Riley’s story.
(Riley) let herself into her building, walked up one flight to her apartment, and was startled to find someone waiting outside her door. Even in the dimly lit hall, she recognized Ian Dare’s tall frame, dark hair, and handsome features. Excitement bubbled up inside her, followed by wariness.
“Finally,” he said, leading her to believe he’d been standing there awhile.
She fought against her rapidly beating heart. “What are you doing here?”
He pushed off the wall and strode toward her. “Do you realize I walked into the building without being buzzed in? I just followed behind a couple who were too busy groping each other to pay attention to who was entering behind them.”
He didn’t have to further sum up his point. Riley already knew the argument well from Alex and her stepmom. “It’s perfectly safe. I carry mace and I’m careful. And you still haven’t answered my question.”
Ian ran a hand through his hair, taking the time to tamp down on the anger that had been brewing inside him as he waited for her in this tiny hall that, despite her claim, was far from safe.
Not for a woman with her full breasts and curvy hips. Not for a woman with that mass of untamed hair and wild beauty, dressed in a short denim skirt with a ruffled edge and black sleeveless top that bared a hint of her stomach.
He fought for control over his libido and the desire to take her in every way imaginable. “I realize I didn’t return your call, but I’m here now.”
She met his gaze, brave and unwavering. “Go home. Whatever I needed from you, it’s too late now.”
His eyes narrowed. “That’s what Alex said, but he refused to elaborate. He said it was your business, so I came to the source. I was busy this week. I had meetings for the draft, and I couldn’t call you back.”
She raised an eyebrow. “Bull. I’m guessing there are a whole host of reasons why you didn’t get back to me. At the top of the list is that you hate Alex.”
“I don’t hate him.” He clenched his hands and released them again, searching for focus. “Riley, you left me a message. Just tell me why.”
“It’s too late.” She walked toward him as she spoke.
She passed him by, heading for her door, key in hand. “I already lost my job,” she said as she slipped inside her apartment.
The door slammed closed behind her, leaving him basking in her scent.
“Son of a bitch.” He knocked hard.
When she didn’t answer, he tried again.
Worst-case scenario, he’d settle into the hallway for the night and wait to catch her when she left again in the morning. Unwilling to do that, he banged on the door again.
In the middle of his knock, she swung the door open wide.
“Fine. Come in,” she said, her eyes narrowed and wary.
He stepped inside. Once enclosed in her small apartment, her luscious scent wrapped around him once more. His cock took a definite hit as desire filled him along with that burning need only she inspired. Knowing those feelings wouldn’t be welcome, he took in her space. Bright colors on the walls, eclectic pieces of furniture, and a warm feel. She knew how to take a tiny area and make it feel like a true home.
“Can I get you something to drink?” she asked.
“No. I just want to know what happened.”
She expelled a deep breath, causing her breasts to rise and fall beneath the flimsy material. He glanced down, trying not to ogle her cleavage because that made him want to test the weight of her breasts. And once he started touching her, he wouldn’t be able to stop. Instead, he noticed her toenails were painted a bright orange, one toe surrounded by a thin silver ring. Even her fucking feet were sexy.
“I worked for Blunt Sporting Goods,” she said, unaware of his train of thought. “I was head of their distribution and sales department. The company was sold; the new boss is an ass and began laying people off. I pulled a Hail Mary and told him I had an in with you, that I could get some of our products distributed to the team. He gave me until Friday to get back to him with something substantial. I called. You didn’t. End of story.” She strode over to the door and swung it open, obviously eager to get rid of him.
He stared in stunned surprise. “You told him that after meeting me for the first time on Saturday night?”
She raised her chin. “Yep.”
“After our kiss.”
Her cheeks turned a healthy pink. “Mmm-hmm.”
“After you walked away from me without a second glance.”
She blinked up at him. “I looked back,” she said softly.
He narrowed his gaze. “You’ve got nerve.”
“So I’ve been told.” She grinned.
He smiled back.
She obviously realized they were sharing a moment and turned off the megawatt grin. “So now you know. You can go now.” She tilted her chin toward the hallway.
Pride. She had it in spades and didn’t like him knowing she’d lost her job. He respected that. Too bad he wasn’t about to leave her now.
He shook his head, silently telling her he was staying. The guilt he’d felt when his brother told him he’d caused Riley problems was only magnified now that he knew how. Based on how angry Alex had been on her behalf, he cared about her deeply. He looked after her. And that was something else Ian could respect. Friendship with his half brother, Ian could work around.
But first, there was the issue of her job.
“I realize you don’t know me, but you’re going to. Because you brought me into your world by calling me, I caused a problem for you. Now I’m obligated to fix it.”
She leaned against the still-open door. “You can’t, because we both know you’re committed to whoever you already purchase from, and I shouldn’t have opened my big mouth.”
So she’d realized the way of things in the business. Although that ought to alleviate his guilt over her losing her job, it didn’t. “Maybe not, but if I’d returned your call, there are other people I could have referred you to who could have given your company business.”
“We’ll never know, now will we?”
“About that? No.” Pretending to be tough and unconcerned didn’t fool him for a second.
She lived in this building, in a not-great part of town, because it was all she could afford. With Ian’s background in owning investment property, he could figure out her approximate income and rent and knew, though she might have a small savings, she couldn’t afford to be unemployed for an extended period of time. So she’d panicked and called him, which meant he owed her.
But that wasn’t why he was still here. He wanted to help. She might not let his brother do it, but Ian damned well intended to.
“What are your plans now?” he asked.
She slowly shut the door, obviously realizing he had no intention of leaving. “I’ll send out resumes like any job-seeking person would,” she said, as if he were dense not to have figured her next step out for himself.
“Or you could come work for me.”
The color drained from her face. “You’re offering me a job. With the Thunder.”
If she was questioning, she wasn’t saying no, and his heart rate sped up at the possibility of seeing her day in and day out. “That remains to be seen. I know we have some openings. We’ll see what fits best.”
She swallowed hard and remained silent, but the color had returned to her cheeks. “So I wouldn’t be working directly for you.”
Interesting the thought of working with him flustered her. Good, because that meant she wasn’t immune, no matter how high a wall she’d erected between them.
“No, you won’t be working for me. I can’t have that.”
She wrinkled her nose, making him want to reach out and stroke her soft skin.
“Why not?” she asked.
He stepped closer, and when she didn’t back away, closer still, until mere inches separated them. “Because I intend to get to know you personally, Riley Taylor. So I can’t be mixing business with pleasure.”
Her breath caught, but she remained in place, those huge blue eyes watching him with a mix of wary curiosity and definite desire. He wanted to kiss her again, to lose himself in that luscious mouth, then press her against the wall and thrust into her warm, wet body.
He tore his gaze from hers, reminding himself to slow the fuck down. He hadn’t gotten her to agree to take a position with the team. A job was her priority, and that meant it was his as well.
Using all the willpower he had, he straightened his shoulders and stepped away first. “Come to the stadium tomorrow morning and ask for Olivia Dare. My sister will find the appropriate fit for you with the organization.”
“I can’t take charity.” She folded her arms across her chest. In her defensive stance, he saw the secrets that Alex knew.
The ones that held the key to understanding this complicated woman. Before he was finished, he intended to know her inside and out.
He remained apart, giving her space. “It’s not charity when I owe you for not returning your call. It’s not nepotism, favoritism, or any other ism you might come up with either.”
She pursed her lips, obviously wavering.
His gaze lingered on her mouth, the desire to take it overwhelming, but he refrained. “You were willing to call me and ask me to do business with you. Consider this a similar opportunity. If you can’t do the job, you’re out on your ass, the same as anyone else.” He gave her the honest truth. He wouldn’t keep her on the payroll if she couldn’t perform.
“So? What will it be?”
New York Times Bestselling Author Carly Phillips turns up the heat in her newest sexy contemporary romance series, and introduces you to the Dare family… siblings shaped by a father’s secrets and betrayal.
Since finding out his father had another family on the side, Ian Dare swore to be the upstanding, responsible man his cheating parent had never been. When it comes to his relatives, he gives his all but in relationships he offers the bare minimum. But one glimpse of sensual Riley Taylor arouses his dominant and protective instincts and Ian is entranced. He will do anything to possess her … and does. But any future with Riley must include him extending an olive branch to the half-brother who is a constant reminder of the pain he’d rather forget.
Independent and always in control, Riley Taylor makes no apologies for choosing men carefully. Relationships have never been a priority and she believes herself hardened to domineering men – until she meets charismatic Ian Dare. He manages to turn a simple kiss into an all out assault on her senses and when he takes control in the bedroom, she’s stunned to discover she likes it. As their affair heats up, they soon realize they complete each other in ways neither imagined. But Riley’s past is closer than she cares to remember, and her struggles with Ian’s dominance might just cost her everything.