Co-owner of an up-and-coming interior-decorating firm, Megan Chase loves being a single woman on the fast track to success. But everything changes when a flat tire brings Georgia senator Steven Monroe into her life. The sinfully sexy politician needs the right woman to clean up his image. And with Megan’s fine eye for detail, she just may be the woman for the job.
Steven’s reputation as a player could cost him his chance at a U.S. senate seat. But when the cameras catch him and Megan in a kiss that’s all too real, it’s not only his future candidacy in jeopardy. As the lines between politics and desire begin to blur, how much will he risk to transform their passionate pretense into a landslide for love?
“I’ll call you next week about that,” Steven promised, shaking his associate’s hand as he tried to move away from the crowd of people that were beginning to form around him. His eyes couldn’t tear away from Megan’s lovely face. He was quite surprised to see her when he entered the ballroom for just some moments ago he’d taken a cold shower as he thought of her. Of course he told himself the cold shower was to cool down his temperature after changing her tire in the blazing evening sun, but he knew that was a lie.
He hadn’t been in the mood to attend the fund-raiser, but considering it was in the same building he lived in, all he had to do was ride the elevator down to the first floor. Plus, his best friend and campaign manager, Shawn Bennett suggested Steven at least should show his face, shake hands and give a considerable donation. But most importantly stay away from the ladies. His reputation couldn’t handle any more bad press considering he had been on local blogs and news channels with a different woman nearly every week. And considering Steven’s father wanted him to eventually run for the U.S. Senate seat he was retiring from at the end of the year, Steven needed to first clean up his image. While he would be a shoo-in to win the nomination because of his intellect, clean political slate and charismatic nature, the Monroe campaign team was more concerned that Steven’s playboy image would cost him the opportunity to win.
So he’d made a promise to stay low-key and out of the limelight with the ladies and therefore opted not to have a date that evening. However, there was something about Megan that was drawing him to her like a magnetic force. When he entered the room earlier, he sensed the same calming peace he had when he’d initially met her. Was it her perfume in the atmosphere or her cute giggle that made him turn her way, only to find her inquisitive eyes on him? She bestowed her beautiful smile as she had when he’d changed her tire, but this one was accompanied with a look of promise that he couldn’t explain. He had a feeling his smile matched hers.
Steven continued to nod and shake hands with people who approached him all the while keeping his eyes glued to Megan and her table. He briefly glanced on either side of her to make sure she didn’t have a date. On her left was a woman who looked just like her, which must’ve been the twin sister she’d mentioned. And the other lady at the table, while drop-dead gorgeous, did nothing for him, either. There weren’t any men in their presence, and he was grateful. “Hello, Megan,” he said casually. “And ladies.” He nodded at them but kept his eyes on Megan. “Nice to see you here. I was hoping to run into someone I know.”
She chuckled with a head tilt. “Weren’t you just bombarded with people you know? We just met an hour ago.”
“Hmm…I know, yet we keep running into each other. Maybe we’re supposed to be in each other’s lives.”
She released her signature cute giggle again, and he was glad when her friends excused themselves but not before the both of them winked at Megan. He sat in the chair across from her and dismissed his bodyguards who were actually his campaign manager and his brother, Bryce. They’d tagged along to make sure he stayed out of trouble. And he sensed their hesitancy before they strode away.
“I must say, I’m quite glad to see you. You drove away without me getting any of your information. I don’t even know your last name.”
It’s Chase. Megan Chase…Senator Monroe,” she stated knowingly with a grin.
He threw his head back in laughter. “Does that bother you?”
“Nope. I’m forever grateful. Could you imagine me changing a tire in heels and in this dress?”
His eyes traveled over her body settling on her shapely legs and a glimpse of the side of her exquisite thighs peeking out from her dress.
No, but I can imagine you only in those heels with your legs over my shoulders. He blinked his eyes a few times and cleared the frog in his throat. At first he thought he’d spoken his private thoughts out loud.
“So that means I have your vote in the next election?”
“I don’t know,” she said in a teasing manner. “What makes you the perfect candidate?”
“I’m a regular down-to-earth guy who likes to help people less fortunate than myself and ultimately make a difference in my community.”
“I’m sold. When does your current term end?”
“I just started my second term as a senator for Georgia so not for another two years. However, I’m considering running for a U.S. Senate seat within the next year or so, but let’s keep that between us for now. It’s my father’s seat, and I’m sure there’re a few people who would love to have it if they caught wind of my dad retiring.”
“Your secret is safe with me,” she said sincerely.
Steven couldn’t believe he’d told her such secret information so easily. Only he, his father, brother and best friend were aware of Senator Robert Monroe’s retirement plans. But for some reason he trusted the lady sitting in front of him.
“So how long have you been in the interior-design business?”
“Well unofficially since I was seven years old.” She paused to laugh. “I redesigned my side of my childhood room by using watercolors and markers on the wall. I also cut up some old drapes my mother was going to toss to make throw pillows and a duvet cover. I loved it but much to my mother’s dismay, she wasn’t pleased with the mural on the wall. But officially when I graduated with my undergraduate degree, so six years.”
“I currently live in a penthouse here at Twelve, but it was already furnished. However, I’m looking into buying a home soon and would love to hire a professional decorator.”
“I’m always looking for new clients, which is one of the reasons why I’m here. Just let me know when you’re ready.”
She opened her evening bag and handed him a business card.
He knew it would be months before he would close on a home. He wasn’t even officially looking for a house yet although he had an agent. It was just something he was considering, but he couldn’t let months go by without seeing her.
“Well, do you have any appointments available this Monday? I would love to see your portfolio and talk to you about some of my ideas.”
She nodded and pulled her cell phone out of her purse. “I have Monday around noon available. Is that a good time for you? If not… Friday.”
He actually had an appointment on Monday at the exact same time, but he couldn’t possibly wait until Friday. He didn’t know if he could wait the two days until Monday. “Noon will be fine. How about we meet at a restaurant and have a business lunch?”
“That sounds good. My office is located in the Buckhead area. How about Café Love Jones? It’s a jazz club, but they’re open for lunch, as well. I have business meetings there quite often.”
“That’s a great spot. Delicious food and atmosphere.”
“Glad you think so. My big brother Braxton is the owner.”
“Cool. I don’t know him personally, but I met him briefly at an event there a few years ago. Brother can play the hell out of a piano.”
Steven then unconsciously glanced up to see Shawn tapping his watch which meant it was time to move on. He was supposed to stay focused, mixing and mingling with the crowd, not flirting with the most beautiful woman at the fund-raiser. But he remembered his promise, and reluctantly stood as the smile on Megan’s soft face sank a little.
“It was nice seeing you again, Megan. I look forward to our meeting on Monday.”
She held out her hand to shake his, but instead he raised it to his lips and kissed it tenderly. The feel of her silky, warm skin on his lips and the scent of her perfume on her wrist shook him to the core. He let his mouth linger on her hand longer than he should have, as he stared into her cinnamon eyes. She let out a soft sigh and slowly withdrew her hand from his. He regained his composure and tried to remember where he was before he did something impulsive like pull her into his arms and kiss her until her knees buckled.
Steven cleared his throat and shoved his hands in his pockets to restrain them. “I’ll see you later.”
For the rest of the evening he socialized with the other guests, discussing politics all while keeping his eyes on Megan. Every now and then he’d catch her glance in his direction as Chelsea Benton escorted her and her friend around. He assumed Chelsea was introducing the women to possible clients since they were eagerly handing out business cards.
An hour later he felt a tap on his shoulder and was pleasantly surprised to look down into Megan’s adorable face.
“Hey, pretty lady.” He leaned over and whispered in her ear. “Having fun? I saw quite a few gentlemen trying to get to know you better.”
“Um…yes, but I’m not trying to date at the present moment. However, I met some potential clients. I just wanted to say thank you again for changing my tire, and I look forward to our meeting on Monday.”
“Me, too. Why are you cutting out so early?”
“I’m not really one for social events even though I should be. However, Chelsea insisted that I come.”
“How do you know Chelsea Benton?”
“She’s one of my mother’s best friends from college. And you?”
“Her husband is golf buddies with my father, and she did some fashion consulting for me both times I ran for the state senate.”
“She’s the best.” Megan then let out a yawn, which caused him to yawn, as well. They both laughed, and he stepped closer toward her.
“Good night, Ms. Chase.” His voice was low. Serious. He hoped the stir in his manhood stayed at bay. He wasn’t in the mood for any more cold showers that evening.
If she was any other woman, he would’ve invited her upstairs to his place, but he knew Megan wasn’t the type to say yes to that and he was glad she wasn’t. Out of all the young women at the fund-raiser aside from her twin and girlfriend, Megan was the only one that hadn’t either batted her eyelashes and twirled her hair or slipped her phone number in the front of his pants’ pocket.
“Good night, Senator Monroe.”
He hesitated to leave, but just then her sister arrived to let her know the valet had pulled their cars around, and the two ladies walked away.
“Who was that?” he heard Shawn say as he approached from the side as they both stood in place staring after Megan and her sister.
“The one woman who could possibly make me settle down.”
Copyright © May 2014 Candace Shaw
Ever since their families were joined by marriage, Sydney Chase has been driving attorney Bryce Monroe crazy. Whether she’s in biker gear or stilettos, no other woman can compare. No one else combines tough and tender in such a sexy, irresistible package. Though Syd has him pegged as a spoiled brat, a spur-of-the-moment Vegas road trip is Bryce’s one chance to prove otherwise.
As a criminal profiler, Syd’s job is to figure people out. Somehow, beyond Bryce’s privileged background is a depth she never expected. Their cross-country trek to a motorcycle fest is turning into the hottest ride of her life—one she knows has to eventually end. Yet what happens in Vegas is impossible to forget, and Bryce isn’t letting go until he’s crashed through every single one of her defenses…
Bryce secured Sydney’s motorcycle onto the trailer next to his all-black Harley. He couldn’t believe a manly man like himself was going to drive cross-country with a pink motorcycle hitched to the back of his SUV.
He placed the luggage and cooler she’d left in the open garage in the trunk. She still hadn’t emerged from the house yet except to stick her head out to say her belongings were by the door.
Looking at the time on his cell phone, Bryce heard the garage door close and Sydney’s footsteps on the driveway. He glanced up and almost did a double take. She was delectable in a pair of black shades, a short black sweater dress that hugged her lethal curves and a gold-and-silver twisted belt around her waist. Even though she did weight training and kickboxing to stay in shape for her job and was toned, she still had a dainty figure that didn’t fit her personality. He let his eyes peruse down her bare legs to her flat ankle boots.
“Aren’t you going to be cold without any type of…panty hose or leggings?” Not that he really cared. She had a pair of muscular, sexy legs that he wouldn’t mind being lost in between.
“I tend to get hot while traveling in the car. I have a throw blanket in my tote bag, and your Range does have heat, right?” she asked sarcastically.
He closed the gap between them. “Yes, or you can throw them across my lap.”
She twisted her lips into a frustrated smile. “I’ll pass. You just concentrate on the road, Counselor.”
Moments later they were on the interstate headed toward Tennessee. He tried to keep focused on the road but kept glancing in her direction. He wasn’t sure if he should make small talk or not. She seemed content reading a magazine and bopping her head to the music that streamed through the speakers.
“So does your family know you’re going to Vegas?” he asked.
“Yep. My mom had a panic attack, and my dad said have fun and to split my winnings with him,” she answered. “Braxton didn’t question me, but my other half suggested I go somewhere else. She has never fully understood why I love motorcycles.”
“Hmm, and why do you love motorcycles?”
“Just the sheer excitement and exhilaration to be in total control of the sleek, sexy machine. It’s almost like great sex but better and without a sweaty man underneath me.”
“Better? I don’t know about that. Maybe you’ve been with the wrong men.” He paused and momentarily glimpsed in her direction. “So you like being in control…and on top?” He tried to contain the wide smile, but it was no use. The visual he conjured up of her riding him hard while he tightly grasped her fine bottom sent his mind and his foot on the pedal in overdrive.
“You wanna slow down?” She pointed to the speedometer. He was going eighty-five.
“Oh. Sorry, my mind was somewhere else,” he said, slowing down to a few miles over the speed limit.
“Yeah, like in the gutter. I was talking about riding a motorcycle, not a man.”
“Well, I can see how the two can be similar. For me, I love the force and the powerful engine underneath. I love the roar and the exquisite sexy hum when it’s idle. But then you speed up again until you finally reach your destination… The true destination for me is the aftermath and thrill of being in control and becoming one with the ride. Sometimes bumpy, sometimes smooth but overall quite satisfying.”
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw her cross and uncross her legs as a pursed smirk formed, and her cheeks turned a rosy pink.
“Is that similar to your experiences, Syd?”
“Um…it just depends on my mood.” She ran her fingers through her hair. “Sometimes if I’m stressed, I ride really, really fast…you know. To get out all of my frustrations and pent-up energy. Scream at the top of my lungs along with the revved up engine. Then there are times I just want to be lazy and relax. Let the motorcycle drive and guide me and afterward float back down from pure bliss.”
It took every fiber in his being not to pull over and snatch her on top of him just to see how fast and passionate she could really ride and drive him, with him in control guiding her how he wanted. How he needed.
She pushed her shades up on her head, and he saw her eyes for the first time since their trip had begun. They’d turned dark cinnamon with a sparkle of fire like always, except this time she wasn’t arguing with him, which was what usually provoked her heat-filled eyes. He stroked his goatee. How had he missed it this entire time? She wasn’t angry with him. She was turned on by him.
“Well, maybe one day we’ll go riding together,” he suggested, his voice laced with sex.
Luscious, tantalizing, delectable…and that’s just Tiffani Chase-Lake’s cupcakes. The moment Broderick Hollingsworth sets eyes on the sexy baker herself, he’s truly intrigued. For the first time, the wary real estate developer is ready to open up to someone. Then he realizes that his next business deal is going to leave Tiffani and her cozy bakery high and dry…
Just as hardworking single mom Tiffani is falling for Broderick’s easy charm, she learns about the property deal that will destroy her business. Even her most decadent dessert can’t eclipse the bitter taste of betrayal. Tiffani’s livelihood and her independence are on the line. Walking away from their sensual chemistry won’t be easy—but is trusting him a recipe for heartache?
(Background info: Tiffani has just informed Broderick about her marriage to her late husband. KJ is her son for those who haven’t read the previous books.)
Broderick washed his hands over his face. “I’m sorry the bastard’s dead because of KJ, but I’m glad you’re not in hell anymore. I’m sure your next husband won’t be like that.”
Tiffani shook her head vigorously. “There won’t be a next husband. I’m never getting married again.”
“I don’t blame you one bit, but what about a steady boyfriend?” He rested his hand on his chin.
“Um… I’m kind of open to that or a companion that I can hang out with and go to dinner and events. Perhaps travel, but I wouldn’t call him my boyfriend. That’s so high school. I’d just want to be.”
“Be what?” he asked as his forehead indented.
She laughed. It was the first time she’d spoken her idea out loud. “I know it sounds weird. But I want to just be in the moment, not in a relationship where I can’t make my own decisions and feel as though I’m suffocating. I refuse to be treated the way Keith treated me ever again. Broderick, there were times when I looked in the mirror and I didn’t know who was staring back. I lost my confidence, my voice and my strength during those six years. I lost me. I can’t let another man control and degrade me. I have my son to consider, my peace of mind and my sanity.”
“So this be-in-the-moment relationship? Would it be with more than one dude?”
“Oh no. Definitely no.”
“Would this be an intimate relationship, as well?”
She noted the arrogant rise of his curious smile. “Yes, I would hope so and he’d have to be really great in bed.”
“I see.” He sipped his scotch and studied her with dark, amorous eyes. “Anything else?”
“He’d have to be someone I can confide in and trust. Not someone who would want to know my finances or try to control my life. At the end of the day, I make my own decisions.”
“Go ’head, Janet, or Ms. Jackson if you’re nasty,” he joked. “You call your own shots, beautiful.”
She giggled. “You’re hilarious. I love when you call me beautiful.”
“That’s because you are. Inside and out.”
Truth, seduction and lust were all laced into his words and his stare. She bit her bottom lip and ran her hand slowly along her bare neck, down to her collarbone and across the top of her cleavage as a slight mist of sweat formed on her skin. Her pulse sped up as he licked his bottom lip LL Cool J style, and she realized what she had just done. She silently hoped Broderick would replace her hand with his tongue.
He slid off the desk and snatched her out of the chair by her waist. His lips hesitated over hers as he stared into her eyes and beyond. Tiffani could taste the scent of his scotch and wanted to savor more. Her body quivered in his commanding embrace as raw pleasure journeyed throughout her veins.
* * *
When he lowered his lips an extra half inch to hers, it felt like their first kiss all over again. Broderick explored her appealing mouth slowly. He wanted to become familiar with every crevice of it just in case a while passed before she let him near her again. However, the thought of that caused an intense churn in his stomach, and he delved deeper so she would always crave for him to kiss and caress her. She was radiant, and the moans erupting from her mouth were driving him insane. Pivoting them, he placed her on the desk and gazed at her as he slowly pulled the hem of her skirt up her legs until it reached mid-thigh. Not once did she flinch, blink or protest. Instead, a sinful smile emerged, and she wrapped her long legs around his waist.
“Take off your coat,” she whispered against his lips.
Wasting no time, he followed her demand and flung it to the floor.
Nibbling her bottom lip, he slid a hand on her lacy panties. “Now you have to take off something.” He continued rubbing her in a circular fashion as her breathing became slightly unhinged, but she still didn’t appear unruffled. Instead, she was quite composed, and he was determined to change that soon.
“What do you want me to take off?” Running her hands up his face she kissed him slow and deep, turning her tongue hard around his.
“Everything,” he growled in her mouth.
“Just one item. I’ll even let you pick.”