If you’ve never had the opportunity to read one of Katharine Ashe’s books you need to fix that today. She’s one of the absolute best historical romance authors. I simply adore her books. So I’m super excited to share a snippet from her new book with everyone.
“The Day It Rained Books” by Katharine Ashe
In the contemporary romance anthology AT THE BILLIONAIRE’S WEDDING
Piers didn’t approach her. But he didn’t stop watching her. Cali chatted with other guests and tried to relax. She failed. Eventually she ended up in a group of Duke’s friends who were talking about the huge success of his new start-up. Nearby, Roxanna caught her eye, then looked meaningfully to Cali’s side.
Cali turned her head. Piers stood beside her.
“Hey.” His voice was warm and low. Then he lifted his drink to his mouth and said something to the others about the TSE versus NASDAQ. He wore a gold signet ring and his hands had the prominent veins of a man in excellent physical condition. She knew this already. She’d seen him in a swimsuit. In the library, she’d had her face pressed against his chest. Still, seeing his hand at such close range after it’d been on the back of her neck to hold her mouth to his, she got shaky inside.
No. This was just wrong. She was a grown woman, not a dizzy teenager. And he was a corporate monster, no matter what he’d said in the rain. Actions spoke louder than words. Cliché, but true. She didn’t need a fling with him. She needed a nice, relaxing vacation and to watch her friend walk happily ever after down the aisle.
Piers turned his head to her, smiled, and Cali nearly dropped her drink.
She couldn’t go outside. It was raining again, and as much fun as she’d had in the rain yesterday, she couldn’t chance that again. She glanced back. Piers was moving away from the group. Toward her.
Scuttling down the hallway she went through the first door she saw, and found herself in the biggest half bath she’d ever seen. Also, the most gorgeous, with a marble countertop, bronze fixtures, Italian tile, and a Hollywood salon style mirror. She fell back against the counter and covered her face with her hands.
How had she come to this place where she was simultaneously lusting after a man and running away from him? She wasn’t this person. She was insanely busy and constantly stressed. But she wasn’t a ditz.
The door opened and Piers came in and shut it behind him.
She sprang up. “What are you doing?”
“What if I’d been…” She gestured toward the commode.
“The door wasn’t locked. You were trying to escape me.”
“I might not have been.”
He lifted a brow.
“I’m a lousy liar,” she admitted.
“Hey,” he said, leaning back against the wall. “I don’t want to pressure you.”
“Really?” She crossed her arms. “You followed me into a bathroom.”
“You ran away into a bathroom. After running away from the gazebo.”
“Who follows a woman into a bathroom? Haven’t you ever heard of privacy?”
He offered her a skeptical look. “Do you think this personal space thing might be coming a little late?”
The edge of the marble counter cut into her butt. “Would you have believed it before the gazebo?”
His smile was slow and assured. “What do you think?”
She thought that from the moment he’d walked down the steps of Brampton onto the drive, she’d been doomed to spend the week lusting after him.
“Look, there’s something going on here,” he said. “I just want you to know that I’m available.”
“For whatever you want.”
He couldn’t be saying what she thought he was saying. Not so directly. But guys like him probably did everything this way. No one would tell them not to, and they probably always got whatever they wanted.
Which was exactly what he was offering to her now.
“Whatever I want?” she repeated.
“Anything. You call the shots.”
“Anything?” Apparently she could not find original words.
His smile went from tempting to devastating. He meant the kind of anything she’d been fantasizing about last night.
She couldn’t speak. This was her chance. A wedding party fling. A brief hookup. Simple, uncomplicated fun. Release.
She sucked in courage. “I do have something in mind.” Straight from her dream.
“I’d like you to feel me up over my jeans.” She’d said it. “Now.”
His Adam’s apple shifted under smooth, tan skin. His surprise was incredibly sexy. “That’s it?”
Her courage plummeted. “Yes. Why? Isn’t that enough for you?”
He came three steps forward, right into her space the same way she’d stepped right into his at the gazebo.
“I get to touch you,” he said. “How couldn’t that be enough for me?”
Why did he always say the right thing? Did he have a stockpile of lines to get women in bed?
Don’t think about it, Cali. Just enjoy.
He smelled like heaven. It was his outrageously expensive cologne, she knew. But it was also him. His scent. She recognized it already and it made her knees weak.
“Are you going to do it?” She sounded breathy. Like the ditz she wasn’t.
“Yeah. I’m going to do it.” He didn’t sound breathy. He sounded really certain.
Then his hands were sliding around her hips, strong and as certain as his voice. She gripped the counter to either side of her as his fingertips strafed her bare skin above the low-cut waist of her jeans, flicking under her camisole. It felt good—his skin against hers. It felt amazing. She liked his hands on her hips. She liked it how he held her gaze, as if he wanted to see how she enjoyed his hands on her.
“I have one condition,” he said in a low voice.
“You didn’t say anything about conditions.” His hands were curving around her butt, the way he might try out the steering wheel of a Ferrari for the first time. A Ferrari he knew he’d own soon.
“You’ll like this condition.” He cupped her butt on both sides, his hands encompassing her.
She liked it already. “What is it?”
“I want you to turn around.”
“Turn—?” Her throat caught. There was a mirror behind her. The lights around it were some kind of softly brilliant bulbs, and they were all blazing now.
He wanted her to see him touch her. …
Swept away by a mysterious benefactor to the wedding of the year, librarian Cali Blake is living a fairytale. The only thing missing is Prince Charming. Instead the guests include the last man she wants to see—her archenemy, millionaire playboy Piers Prescott. Piers is determined to conquer Cali’s resistance to him, and he’ll stop at nothing to have her. As long as she can remember it’s just for one week, could he be the perfect wedding fling?
In the contemporary romance anthology by The Lady Authors…
At the Billionaire’s Wedding
A stately home in the English countryside seems the ideal place for a bad boy billionaire and his bride to tie the knot. Until the Internet fails. And the oven breaks. And paparazzi invade. And police crash the bachelorette party. And four unlikely couples discover that passion never waits for perfection, and happily ever after is just an “I do” away.