My newest release is now available through Siren Publishing!
Southern belle Campbell Layne is the rising star of theManhattan Ballet Theatre, providing she lands the upcoming principal role. Thestage heats up, however, when Rod Carrington steps in and teaches her more thanshe ever expected.
Campbell is determined to stay focused on the audition thatwill push her into stardom, but the dazzling attorney she meets at a galaproves to be a major distraction especially when he ends up being her professorin a college class she’s taking in her spare time. Campbell humiliates herselfon their first date, but that doesn’t stop Rod from whisking her off to Italyand turning her into quite the vixen. Too bad he also had to use his powerfulinfluence to secure the lead for her. Now she’ll never know if her talent was real or “bought” by the man she thought was the love of her life.
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"That’s well-rehearsed, Miss Layne. Tell me, though, do you turn on the southern belle charm for all your fans or only the gentlemen ones?”Her mouth fell open, but she snapped it shut. “How dare you? “First of all, I’m from Alabama which makes the accent genuine, and secondly, that’s…the rudest, most ungentlemanly thing to say.”“I never said I was gentleman and readily admit to be undeserving of your sweet façade. I’d much prefer the real you.”She propped her hands on her hips. “And precisely what, may I ask, do you assume to be the real me, seeing as our acquaintance has a life span of what? Thirty seconds?”Rod glanced at an expensive-looking gold watch. “Forty-five.” He stepped closer.She did not see that coming and stumbled back only to become trapped between the wall and his body. The hard, cold stone competed against his warm, harder presence. Damn it, the latter won out. She ground her traitorous fingertips into the wall in an effort to prevent them from brushing away the stray curl that fell across his forehead.The hem of his jacket brushed her hip as he moved in to splay his hand over her waist. The pressure built as he gathered her an inch closer. She caught a faint whiff of his woodsy cologne.“In fact, I’d like to get to know every inch of you.” Another sharp tug had her chest pressed against him.Her blood boiled in a delicious rhythm. Obviously, the vibrator thing was getting old if this jerk was turning her on. Campbell flexed her fingers and pushed against his shoulders. “Let go of me, you arrogant pig.” A lion, cougar, leopard—anything powerful—seemed a more apt description though.Rod chuckled and loosened his hold, enough to insert his finger between them. It followed the line of fabric at her shoulder slowly, very slowly, across her chest. As he glided over her cleavage, he said, “You’re mistaken. It’s confidence I possess.”“More like cockiness.” She couldn’t take her gaze off his finger or steer her attention from the hunger that swept through her so intensely she instinctively arched her back, lifting her breasts to beg for more.“Either way, but I always get what I want, and in case you need me to spell it out” —he slid his finger up her throat to tilt her chin, forcing her to look at him—“I. Want. You.”Her breath hitched. No, stopped. Campbell literally thought she might pass out, only she wouldn’t give him the satisfaction.Feigning haughty sophistication wasn’t in her repertoire, but there was a first time for everything. She raised a brow and allowed her gaze to wander his body as he’d done to her. The black tux cut a dashing figure, making her mouth water for a taste of what laid beneath. His bowtie was a little askew. She reached to straighten it, brushing against his neck. She sensed, rather than saw, the restrained quickening of his jaw. She inwardly smiled, but those treacherous fingers battled back, wanting to still the muscle of his clean shaven jaw with a gentle caress. She balled her fists in reprimand, uncaring that her short nails dug into her palms.Campbell shot him what she hoped was a contemptuous glare. “Take your hand off me.” She made a dramatic showing of enclosing her fingers, one at a time, around his wrist and tugged his finger away from between her boobs.Nothing happened. Well, almost nothing. He managed to do that trick when one eyebrow lifts higher than the other.She sighed loudly and exceedingly unladylike. Then she pulled. Hard.Finally, he broke contact by approximately six inches when twelve would have been much closer to the acceptable personal space limit. Too late to hide her puckered nipples, she still folded her arms across her chest. “An apology would be appropriate at this time.”“Ah, but then I’d have to, in fact, be sorry.”He said that? Seriously? She stood there, gaping.“What? No response? I assume that negates the possibility of you actually wanting an apology.”Again, nothing. She felt like a fool, but her mind remained as blank as the sky on a cloudy night. So much for feigning haughty sophistication.“Um…” Okay, it wasn’t a three-point goal in the final seconds of the game, but her voice hit a few decibels nevertheless.Rod’s deep chuckle reverberated throughout the alcove as he captured both of her shoulders. He laughed at her. Worse, he was going to kiss her. She knew it. Right here, right now. In front of everyone. A complete stranger. Well, not completely, she knew his name at least. Knowing the first name made it all right, didn’t it?Lord, what am I thinking? She did not go around kissing strangers. Hell, she didn’t go around kissing people she knew. What would her mama think? She’d die of shame, that’s what.But heaven knew Campbell wanted to taste those beautiful, full lips. She closed her eyes and barely swallowed the lump stuck in her throat before licking her lips, preparing for the inevitable. He leaned in and…bypassed her lips altogether. Her eyes popped opened, and she experienced a moment of utter humiliation before all her attention once again focused on him. His cheek brushing hers as he brought his mouth to her ear.Whispering in a low, sexy baritone, he said, “Forgive me, Campbell. I’m glad to see New York has not jaded you, and that you still maintain an impressive degree of sweet innocence. Combined with your beauty, that’s an irresistible combination.”Holy gamolely. He’d called her beautiful. And innocent. Now, that was a compliment every girl wanted to hear. Actually, he was wrong, thanks to her so-called “boyfriend” at seventeen.Unknowing how to respond, she lamely replied, “You’re forgiven, but how do you know my real name? Everyone here knows me by my stage name, Bella.”“Let’s just say I’ve done my homework on you.”