I’m excited to annouce that I’m releasing The Game of Seduction two days ahead of schedule! Its currently available as an ebook with Amazon Amazon UK Barnes and Noble Smashwords and All Romance eBooks.
Check out the blurb and chapter 1 below. Happy reading!
Dr. Bria Arrington has had her heart broken by one bad boy playboy and doesn’t want to travel down that road again. However, she finds herself attracted to her best friend, self-proclaimed bachelor, Rasheed Vincent. After a passionate kiss leaves them desiring more, seducing each other is the only cure.
A retired basketball player, Rasheed is a player on and off the court. When a woman gets too close, he bounces to the next one. But the condition he’s in makes him want a permanent dose of Bria’s love, and he’s ready for the shot. She knows falling in love with Rasheed is a prescription for trouble, yet she’s willing to risk it. But can she trust him with her heart?
The Game of Seduction is the second book in the Arrington Family Series.
“Take one Clarinex every morning until you completely run out, even if everything clears up,” Dr. Bria Arrington instructed her patient who had broken out in hives after eating shellfish. Bria scribbled out the prescription and handed it to the young woman.
“Thank you. Next time, I’ll make sure to ask what’s in the gumbo before digging in.” She glanced at the prescription before placing it in her purse.
“Yes, that would be very wise,” Bria said. A few moments later she walked her patient out into the waiting area and bid her good-bye.
Bria ran her fingers through her bouncy, back length curls and headed to her sister’s office. Dr. Raven Arrington, an obstetrician and gynecologist, had just seen her last patient for the day and the two sisters were headed out to get ready for their sister’s bachelorette party. Shelbi, the youngest Arrington, was getting married the next day.
Bria stuck her head in Raven’s partially opened door. “Are you ready to go?”
“Yep. Let me finish editing this article on advances in infertility treatments,” Raven answered, her eyes not wavering from the computer screen and her fingers still moving fast along the keys.
Bria was impressed at how her older sister was always focused, serious-minded, and knowledgeable about the medical field and world topics. Bria was more interested in sports, music, good food, and fun. She figured once she was out of her twenties—which she had one more year—maybe she would be more focused and serious-minded like thirty-six-year-old Raven. For now, Bria just wanted to enjoy life.
“Did you include something about acupuncture and herbs?”
“Yep.” Raven glanced at Bria and then quickly back to the screen. “You know, for someone who is an allergist, you certainly have an interest in naturopathic medicine. Too bad you can’t practice it here like you want to, but you know Daddy.” Raven ended on a sigh and pushed her naturally curly red hair behind her ears. Her huge gold hoops dangled in the process.
“I can always move to another practice.” Oops. Bria bit her bottom lip and then pretended to look through her cell phone. She hadn’t meant to speak her thought of the past few months out loud, especially to anyone in her family.
“Um … did you forget you’re a part owner of our family’s practice? Arrington Family Specialists needs you.” Raven shut her laptop and placed it in a black leather carrier before she gave her sister a firm gaze.
“I know but … like you said, I have the interest, plus I’m a licensed herbalist, a certified iridologist, and a few other things I haven’t shared that I’ve been working on.” Bria shrugged, hoping this would be the end of the conversation. She had a possible lead on a job in Atlanta but wasn’t ready to discuss it with her family yet.
“I’m sure you are, much to Daddy’s dismay, and what other certifications are you working on that’s sure to make Daddy even more upset?”
Their father, Dr. Francis Arrington, a renowned cardiologist and surgeon, had started the practice when Bria was a teenager. Her father wanted his children to work at the family practice, but her heart wasn’t strictly in traditional medicine anymore. Instead, she wanted to combine traditional and naturopathic medicine to help her patients with their allergies and other issues.
“Raven, let’s not discuss this now.” Bria’s cell phone chimed.
“Let me guess. It’s your man.” Raven grabbed her coat and proceeded toward the door.
Bria shook her head and glanced at the text. It was her best friend.
“I don’t have a man.” She stood and followed behind Raven.
“Whatever. Your face lights up whenever your so-called best friend calls or texts you.”
“For the last time, we’re just friends. Besides, he’s arrogant, cocky, a jokester, a—”
“A player,” Raven interjected, “but you still want him.”
Bria sighed. She was tired of her family and close friends insinuating that she liked Rasheed Vincent for more than just a friend. The idea was completely absurd. Because of his player ways and women always after him, she didn’t want to fall into the category of being just another notch on his bedpost. No thank you. Instead, they’d become fast friends a few months ago, hanging out at blues clubs and sporting events or staying in, ordering a pizza, and watching the games on television. She listened to his complaints and trysts about whatever girl-of-the- week he was seeing. Nope. She liked him, but not enough to put herself in a hurtful situation again.
The sisters bid farewell to the receptionist and walked briskly toward the parking lot in the frigid evening air.
As she sat in the passenger seat of Raven’s Mercedes, Bria realized she’d never read the text message. His initials, R.V., were in a box on her cell phone. She touched it to see what crazy, off-the-wall thing he had said.
Wish you were here. A party isn’t the same without my homegirl by my side. Who else is going to keep my crazy butt in check? Wish me luck. This fine sista with a big butt is checking your boy out.
The last time she spoke to Rasheed, he was on a private jet with his boys going to Las Vegas for the bachelor party for his best friend, Justin, who was also Shelbi’s fiancé. At the time, Bria had to cut the conversation short because of an emergency with a patient. As she read the message again, she knew that anything more than a friendship wouldn’t work between them anyway.
Rasheed Vincent adjusted his sage-colored bow tie in the mirror as he wondered who had the audacity to pick such a color. He flashed his usual charming, sexy smile that always melted the heart of any woman in the vicinity that had the pleasure of seeing it. A retired professional basketball player, he enjoyed the attention and company of beautiful women—until they became too close—and then he was on to the next one.
He checked his appearance in the mirror one more time. Everything had to be on point today, which wasn’t hard for him. His self-confident and slightly arrogant attitude wouldn’t let him be anything but on point. His bald head glistened under the vanity lights in the dressing room of the wedding chapel. The Armani tuxedo fit his muscular, athletic physique and showcased his broad shoulders with a rock hard chest and washboard abs. He checked his onyx cuff links and buttoned his tuxedo jacket, before giving himself the thumbs up.
He glanced over his shoulder to his best friend and the groom, Justin Richardson, who was busy reading the wedding vows he’d written. Rasheed had hoped that Justin would’ve tamed his wild, curly hair for the wedding but apparently the bride wanted it just like that. Their other best friend and the second best man, Derek Martin, finished putting on his bow tie and proceeded to open a bottle of Moet.
Rasheed strode over to his boy who in two more hours would no longer be living the single life, something Rasheed never planned to give up. He was a certified playboy and intended to keep it that way.
He placed his hand on Justin’s shoulder. “You ready to put on that ball and chain … I mean get married and have sex with the same woman for the rest of your life?”
Justin chuckled and placed the paper with the wedding vows in the pocket of his black tuxedo pants. “Of course, I’m ready. I was ready when I first laid eyes on her adorable face.”
Derek chimed in, as he poured three glasses of champagne. “Yeah, man, I remember. You’ve been whipped since you met Shelbi.”
“I’m not …” Justin paused. “You’re right. I am. But my Shelbi is perfect.”
Rasheed nodded. “You have a good woman that loves you for you. That’s the best kind, man.”
Justin and Shelbi had met just four months before on a trolley in downtown Memphis. Unbeknownst to her, Justin was the owner and executive chef of the restaurant she had critiqued a few days before for her job as a food critic with the Memphis Tribune. After a whirlwind romance and the two working on some personal issues such as Shelbi deciding to begin her medical residency, the couple chose to get married on Christmas Eve. This would give them plenty of time for a honeymoon and a chance to move into their new home before Shelbi began her residency in January.
Rasheed checked his Rolex. “Well, if you change your mind, the Bentley is parked out back. I can have the jet ready, and we can be back at the strip club in Vegas in a few hours. Your bachelor party, thanks to me, was off the chain!”
Justin laughed and took the glass of champagne from Derek. “That it was. But now, I’m ready to get married to the most beautiful woman in the world. You know, Rasheed, you could be next.”
Rasheed almost spit out his champagne and thank goodness he didn’t because he knew Shelbi would’ve had a fit if any stains had been on his tuxedo jacket.
“Married?” He chuckled and shook his head. “Naw. Marriage complicates things.”
“Really? Like what?” Derek asked.
“Like getting the numbers of all Shelbi’s single, hot bridesmaids at the reception.” Rasheed took out his cell phone to make sure it was charged. “She even has some fine, sexy twin cousins from Atlanta. Twins! That would be a fantasy come true … again.” A wide smile formed on his face.
“Really? How would Bria feel about that?” Justin inquired.
“Bria?” Rasheed wasn’t surprised at the question. He had met her at Justin’s dinner and blues club a few months ago, and they’d been hanging out ever since. Everyone thought surely they would end up dating, but they were just friends. “Why would she care? She’s my homegirl. Nothing going on. We’re just friends.”
Justin and Derek rolled their eyes at each other. A knock sounded on the door and the men jerked their heads in that direction. Thankful for the interruption, Rasheed strode over to open the door. There stood the topic of their conversation along with Raven wearing their maid of honor dresses.
“What’s up, fellas? I have your boutonnières,” Bria said as they entered the dressing room. Raven took a boutonnière from a box in Bria’s hand and headed toward Justin.
Rasheed’s eyes were instantly drawn to Bria’s sexy body like a magnet. The sage-colored, straight dress hugged the curves of her petite five-foot-five frame in all of the right places. He was so used to seeing her in medical scrubs that he hadn’t noticed how shapely her body was.
His eyes gazed over her hips and a butt that he’d never realized was so rounded. Her small yet plump breasts were sitting up all nice and perky, and he resisted the urge to pull down her dress and introduce himself to them by kneading and kissing them senseless. Her thick, back- length hair was pinned up in a loose, tousled updo with sexy, wispy curls framing her delicate, bronze face. She always reminded him of the actress Gabrielle Union because of her sexy girl-next-door look and breathtaking smile.
Rasheed downed his glass of champagne, hoping it would calm down whatever the hell he was feeling for his friend. He tried to concentrate on what Raven blabbed about. Something to do with pictures, rings, and walking back down the aisle after the ceremony. But all he could do was imagine hiking up Bria’s dress and holding up her against the wall. He walked over to the bottle of champagne and poured another glass. His attention came back when she spoke directly to him.
“You’re next, playboy,” she said in her usual upbeat, bubbly voice.
“Playboy? You think I’m a playboy?” He didn’t know why all of a sudden he was offended by her comment. She called him that all of the time, and he always gave her some witty, smart-aleck answer such as “and you know this” or “til the day I die.”
The men and Raven laughed while Bria smiled and shook her head.
“Boy, please.” She walked toward him with the rose bud. She took the champagne glass from him, took a sip, and then handed it back to him. “The whole world knows you’re a playboy. Now, let me put the final finish to your attire so you can take pictures. The photographer is done with Shelbi and the bridesmaids.”
Rasheed’s pet peeve was women drinking from his glass; however, he thought it was cute when Bria did it. He finished the rest of the champagne and set the glass on the table.
“I’m going to go ahead and take Justin down to the chapel now that Shelbi is back in her dressing area,” Raven said. “The pastor mentioned wanting to see him.”
“Cool. I wanted to ask him a question about the vows I’ve written.” Justin headed toward the door with Raven.
“I’ll go with you,” Derek said. “I want to get a glimpse of those twins again.”
Rasheed looked passed Bria and straight to Derek. “Hey, I got first dibs on the twins,” he yelled as the door closed.
“Humph. And you say you aren’t a playboy,” Bria said with a whispered laugh.
Rasheed looked down at her while she struggled to pin the flower to his lapel. She was on her tippy toes despite the fact that her heels had given her a few extra inches of height. A sweet, soft scent of jasmine and gardenia radiated from her and filled his senses with her aura.
“You smell and look beautiful,” he said in a deep voice that he normally wouldn’t use with her. “I’m not used to seeing you all glammed up.”
Almond-shaped, coffee-colored eyes glanced up at his face, and her lips parted slightly before she sighed and continued to straighten the flower.
“This thing won’t stay still!” she expressed in a flustered tone. She unpinned it and tried again.
Rasheed wasn’t sure what had ruffled her feathers. Bria was always laid-back and nothing got on her nerves—except the task of pinning a rosebud to his lapel. When he had first met her, he’d flirted hard. Real hard. However, she nipped that in the bud fast. She’d threatened to throw him over the banister of Justin’s restaurant and then proceeded to tell him she wasn’t some floozy or groupie. After that, he had nothing but respect for her, and they’d hung out ever since. Bria had become one of the boys to him thanks to her athletic ability, her love of sports, and cool attitude. He still checked her out from time to time, especially in the little shorts she wore when playing basketball. But he never flirted and even asked for advice about whatever girl-of-the-week he was seeing.
“Having problems, Bree?” he asked, using the nickname he’d given her and concentrating to stay composed. He tried to remember this was his friend, his homegirl. She stood in front of him so close he could see the pulse at the base of her neck beat faster than usual. He pushed his hands in the pockets of his trousers to resist the urge to glide them down her neck, her arms, back, hips —especially the hips—and then end up on her plump little derriere as he imagined picking her up and kissing her already parted, sexy lips.
“I … I almost got it,” she said with a relieved smile. She stuck the pin through the lapel and back out to firmly connect the boutonnière. “Ouch!” She pulled her finger back and waved it in the air.
Rasheed took her finger in his hand and lightly kissed it. Before he had time to think about what he was doing, he sucked the pricked finger into his mouth as his eyes met hers in an intense stare. The rise in his silk boxers strained against his pants as his lips touched her skin. He knew he needed to stop this charade, but her finger was literally finger-licking good, and he wanted more—much more.
“Better?” he whispered in a seductive tone as he caressed her other fingers with his lips and brushed a wisp of hair out of her face.
“Hmm … um …” she stuttered, and her eyes shut as more untamed purrs trailed from her throat.
The aroused music which escaped her was answer enough for him. With little effort, he moved her hands around his neck and drew her petite body hard against his. He bent his head to her quivering lips to imprison them with a seductive kiss. He kissed her deep, relishing in her essence as his tongue wound its way around hers in a slow, sensual dance. Her body arched against his, and more soft moans rose from her. He dipped his tongue inside her mouth even further as she continued to reach for it with her own. Her soft hands slid over his bald head, down to his neck and gripped his shoulders which stirred fervor in him.
“You taste so damn good, Bree,” he groaned.
Rasheed had known all along if he ever had the chance to kiss her, she would be delectable. Now he knew what the closest thing to heaven was, and a moan trembled from him. He moved his lips to her smooth neck which released a rumble from her throat. He kissed her with a tenderness that surprised him, but Bria was a delicate piece of art, and he wanted to treat her as such. He nibbled the hollow area near her collar bone and ran his hands down her backside until they rested on her plump little butt. He was trying his best to not unzip his pants and lift her leg around his torso …
Bria jerked away from him with a gasp and a wide, bewildered gaze. She placed her hand over her mouth as if it were burning.
They stared at each other for a moment before she broke the silence. “We need to go,” she said in a stern voice he wasn’t used to hearing. Usually it was a sweet musical sound, but now it was laced with disapproval and regret.
Coming down from cloud nine, he straightened his tux and looked down at her. Her eyes were wild, lipstick smeared on her full lips, and her breasts rose up and down tempting him to grab her again. He continued to be mesmerized by her hard breathing because one, he caused it, and two, her breasts had never looked so damn perky before. He cocked his head to the side when he realized her nipples poked through the material as if they wanted to break free. How could he have forgotten to touch, kiss, lick, pull, and nibble on her two luscious peaches? Damn. I’m slipping.
He stepped forward. “Bria, are you all right?” He reached for her to offer comfort.
She turned from him and headed towards the vanity area. He placed his hands back in his pockets where they should have stayed in the first place. That’s when he realized the monster in his boxers was hard as a rock. He pulled down his tux jacket, but that still didn’t hide it.
“I’m fine, but that can’t happen again.” She blotted the red lipstick with a Kleenex. “We’re friends, and friends don’t get all hot and bothered for each other.”
“So, you’re all hot and bothered over me?” he teased, trying to make her smile, but the sternness on her face hadn’t cracked.
“Rasheed, this isn’t a joking matter!”
“You’re right, Bree. I don’t know what came over me.” And the truth was he honestly didn’t know what had come over him. He couldn’t believe the aggressive way he had acted with her.
She headed toward the door avoiding eye contact with him. “Let’s just forget this happened. The photographer is ready for the men in the wedding party. You’re going to be late, and I don’t want Shelbi upset. It’s her day today.” She opened the door and closed it, leaving him in the room alone.
As much as he loved a passionate kiss with a sexy woman, Rasheed never thought kissing Bria would set his mind into overdrive. Sure, he’d been attracted to her since they’d met. He’d been drawn to her kissable dimples which displayed when she flashed her inviting smile, and he’d had the urge to place kisses in their deep crevices. He loved her funny little laugh, her thoughtfulness, and her nonchalant attitude. She was an all around cool woman. She was his best friend, his girl. He could depend on her to keep him in check and stay focused. The last thing he wanted to do was upset her. She was visibly shaken when she left, but of course his kisses always did that to any woman. No surprise there.
Rasheed checked himself in the mirror one more time, wiped Bria’s lipstick from his lips with his handkerchief, and stuffed it neatly back into his pocket. As he opened the door, he realized he was shaken as well, but he wasn’t going to let it show. After all, he was Rasheed Vincent, player extraordinaire on and off the court. Sure, Bria was beautiful, intelligent, and sexy, but he wasn’t going to let a woman steal his heart again.
Copyrighted by Candace Shaw, August 2012