Love You Madly

He’d seen her, he’d wanted her, and he’d done what life had taught him to do: He’d ponied up the bucks and bought her.

Claire’s an expert on image—at least when it comes to her corporate clients. But her family’s every move had her working to fit in instead of discovering her true self. Even now, she focuses on the expectations of others rather than on her own desires.

Randy’s an expert when it comes to money, having bought his way through life after years spent on the streets. But his wealth has never paid for happiness. And now it’s going to get in the way of the one thing—the one woman—he wants.

Except this holiday fling is only about convenience, compatibility, and companionship… or is it?

“These sexy, heartwarming tales launch a forthcoming miniseries set in Court du Chaud that’s well worth waiting for.” — RT Book Reviews, 4.5 stars, TOP PICK

“This will warm your heart and put you in the mood for the upcoming holidays. This book is red hot and should be at the top of your TBR stack for holiday reading. I highly recommend it.” — Laurie D., Amazon reviewer, 5 stars

He brought his own glass to his mouth, maintaining eye contact as he swallowed. And then, ignoring the basic rules she’d set, asked her the one question he was most curious to have her answer.

“Why me?”

“Do you want me to be honest?” she responded even though he wasn’t sticking to the deal upon which she’d insisted. Then again, neither was she. “Or do you want me to be nice?”

He stared at her for one long moment, then laughed.

She saw it begin in his eyes; tiny laugh lines appeared, barely visible in the glow from the fan’s light above him. She saw it next in the dimples that bracketed his lips.

But it was the sound he let go, a great gust of amusement, a severing of the tension around which they’d been dancing, that grabbed hold of her heart and squeezed.

Yes. Her heart. The very organ she’d determined to keep out of his bed.

>From an emotional standpoint, this encounter was not going the way she’d wanted. His fault for the laugh. Her fault for being susceptible.

Physically, however, she held out great hope that the sparks between them had only just begun to fly. “I’ll take that to mean honesty works for you?”

“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” he said and raised his glass in a toast.

She settled into the closest chair, pretending to relax as she crossed her legs, as she slowly let her dangling foot swing. “I like the way you look.”

“Well, that’s certainly honest,” he replied, taking the chair opposite hers, leaning back, stretching out his legs and crossing his ankles.

“Too much so?” she asked, running her index finger around the rim of her glass and adding, “Would you prefer I be subtle? That I approach you in a bar? Or offer to buy you a cup of coffee at Café Eros? We could flirt and make small talk. You could wonder about my intent. I could pretend to think about letting you take me home.”

He’d set his wineglass on the table while she talked, and now held it in place with two fingers threaded around the stem, his palm flat on the base.

She studied the dark hair dusting his wrist and the far edge of his hand. Then she wondered how close the crystal was to breaking; he was so very rigid, his body so very hard and still.

“That all seems like such a waste of time,” he finally said, to which she replied, “I agree.”

And then she waited, her heart beating hard, and watched him nod, watched him pick up his wineglass and drink, watched him watch her all the while.

It was a strange sort of cat and mouse they were playing, a game that if done right meant two winners, a game that if done perfectly would mean no regrets, no heartache.

No heartbreak.