Summer Seduction

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When Jeremy meets romance author Taralynn Harwood in a hotel bar, he’s glad just for the opportunity to buy her a drink. When she takes him back to her place and has him sign a non-disclosure agreement, his imagination—and libido—run wild. But after she kicks him out of bed, the blow to his ego forces him back to her, ready to just about beg for an opportunity to perform better. He’s willing and eager to learn the art of pleasure from one of the hottest romance authors in the business.

Tracy doesn’t hide from her achievements as Taralynn Harwood, touted by readers and reviewers alike for the off-the-charts heat of her books. What she does hide is a secret that could destroy her entire career. But when her failed one-night stand shows up at her door—NDA already signed and enforceable—it seems like the perfect opportunity to indulge in a little research. All for the sake of her books, of course.



Enjoy an Excerpt from Summer Seduction:



Chapter 1


Taralynn Harwood breathed a sigh of relief as she stepped out of the stuffy event room. After an intensive Q&A and signing almost fifty autographs, the cool quiet of the hotel lobby was like finding freedom. As much as she loved her fans, engaging with an endless stream of strangers was still, in a word, exhausting. Thank goodness for Lani, her kickass assistant who’d handle all the wrap-up from the signing. Which meant Taralynn could grab a well-deserved cocktail.

The strappy stilettos she wore to every signing clacked on the polished lobby floor as she strode over to the dimly lit hotel lounge. By the time the bartender slid her pear martini onto the reflective black bar, Tracy had almost entirely shed the constrictive second skin of her alter ego. If you didn’t count the glammed-up outfit, that was.

She pulled out her phone to check any missed notifications, skimming through tagged photos from the signing—already up online—as she lifted the chilled glass to her lips. The martini was the perfect balm after hours spent socializing. Taralynn might be all about the bawdy jokes, double entendres, and candid conversations about kink, but Tracy preferred the invisibility of sitting in a quiet bar. Splurging on a delicious drink after a book signing had become her little tradition, ever since there’d been no one to celebrate with after her first one. One of the trade-offs of being an erotic romance author.

Tracy regrammed a particularly fun shot of Taralynn with a group of readers who’d come decked out in some—fairly mild—BDSM accoutrements, then turned her phone over. She leaned back on the bar stool and sipped the perfectly balanced drink, her eyes shutting in pleasure as the hint of pear washed over her taste buds. Sometimes, it really was the little things.

“You make that look,” said a male voice to her left, “like the most amazing drink ever.”

And just like that, Taralynn was back. Yes, she had male readers, too, which meant tonight everyone was only meeting Taralynn, just in case. She swallowed nonchalantly, opened her eyes, and lowered the martini glass to the bar, all while curving her lips up in a sultry smile. “Let’s just say it hit the spot.”

The man who’d spoken sat a couple barstools away, the collar to his button-down shirt flipped open above a loosened tie. So maybe he was at the hotel for a business thing, not her “Tantalized by Taralynn” event. He was cute, if nondescript, at least in the muted lighting. Brown hair, just long enough to run fingers through, clean-shaven, eyes of an uncertain color, a flawlessly straight nose. Forgettable, if not for the slightly protruding ears, the lovely cushions of his lips, and the intense—almost predatory—gaze.

“I’d love to buy you another,” he said, fingers fanning toward her drink.

“A bit premature, don’t you think?”

His eyes dipped to her lips then lower, to her artificially pushed-up bust, before meeting her gaze again. “God forbid,” he said, a new hoarseness underlying his voice. Was that a blush caressing his cheeks, or a trick of the lighting?

He shifted in his seat, revealing a tumbler with the remnants of a dark drink that he promptly drained. “I’ve, uh.” He cut himself off, shaking his head at the now empty glass before setting it aside. “I’ve read almost all your books. Those I could find.”

Ah. That sounded like her cue to finish her drink, sign another book—or napkin, or whatever—and head home. “Then I certainly hope you enjoyed them.”

“They were…quite informative.”

Tracy hummed, taking another sip rather than comment. She was supposed to be done with work for the night, not entertaining another fan for a private Q&A. Or worse, providing fodder for his later fantasies. Some people were incapable of separating the author from the sex in her books.

“I was sorry to have missed your talk, I got caught up at work,” he offered, his lips slanting in a smirk. He shook his head again, like he was in the middle of calling himself an idiot. “Anyway, I’ll leave you to your evening.” He turned away, signaling the bartender for another drink.

The pressure of being “on” popped, letting that sense of freedom trickle back in. Her unnamed companion rolled his empty tumbler between his palms. “What is it you do?” Tracy found herself asking.

“Oh, it’s pretty boring,” he said down to the bar, then stiffened. His head swiveled to look back up at her. “I work for a marketing firm, analyzing the effectiveness of keywords and other campaign analytics so I can recommend adjustments.” He smiled in that slightly sad, self-deprecating way. “Sounds thrilling, right?”

“Sounds baffling,” Tracy said honestly. As an author, all that cost-per-click and keyword stuff was supposed to be part of the deal, but she’d never been able to wrap her mind around it. Another thing Lani took care of for her, now that Tracy could afford an assistant.

The man tilted his new drink in her direction, then stalled, zeroing in on her glass. “Refill?” he asked, one eyebrow quirking up.

Tracy followed his gaze to the waiting last sip. On the one hand, going home, getting out of her sexy/professional outfit, and curling up with something simple like mac and cheese sounded just about perfect, especially since her wide belt was digging into her ribcage. On the other, how long had it been since she’d even been on a date? Having a drink with a decent-looking man who seemed nice and harmless enough wasn’t the worst fate in the world. Plus, it would save her the hassle of dressing up separately for a date, if she ever did go back on one of the neglected dating apps downloaded to her phone.

And here she was, sitting next to someone at least a little interesting, if only because he didn’t mind admitting he read those books.

Still… “I tend not to drink with someone before I even know their name.”

His smile became a little more genuine, if still as crooked. But now it was endearing rather than tainted by a touch of bitterness. “Jeremy.” He signaled again to the bartender, then shifted to the barstool beside Tracy. Closer, a hint of stubble was visible on his jaw, and those intense eyes turned out to be on the greener side of hazel. She could certainly do worse. And maybe they could have some fun.

~*~

Anticipation zinged through Jeremy as he leaned against the wall outside the door to Taralynn’s apartment. He’d expected her to blow him off, not even give him a second glance beyond the same polite attention she’d paid everyone who came up for an autograph. He’d told her he missed the event, but really he’d only missed the formal Q&A. He’d snuck in, watching awhile as the line of fans shuffled toward the plastic table piled with books. And if he wasn’t mistaken, custom-printed pasties.

Like a moron, he’d been too intimidated to wait his turn, go up and meet the woman who’d helped pick up the pieces when his life fell apart. When she’d sat down near him at the bar… Well, the last thing he’d expected was to be going home with her. If she ever let him in, that was.

After he’d kissed her out in the hotel lobby, she’d warned him: she had conditions. But hell, given everything she described in her books, of course being with her would be an adventure. Her books were so hot, and so useful, Jeremy was up for trying just about anything with her.

The door swung open silently and she stepped out, holding up a folded sheet of paper and a pen. Meeting the challenge in her eyes, Jeremy flipped open the paper. NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENT was printed across the top, with a handful of bullets beneath it.

He glanced back to Taralynn, catching a softer expression, a vulnerability that matched the sporadic glimpses he’d gotten of something other than her salacious public persona. But Jeremy wasn’t one to kiss and tell, anyway. And what man in his right mind would turn down a night with Taralynn Harwood?

He took the pen from her fingers, flattened the sheet on the wall, and signed somewhere near the line on the bottom of the page.

“Date,” she said when he offered the NDA back to her. She’d taken the time inside her apartment to put a fresh coat of color on her lips, too. They shone a dark red in the yellow of the hallway light.

Jeremy squinted at the sheet, found the shorter line, and added the date. He skimmed the legalese, but damned if his dick wasn’t the one making all the decisions now. If whatever they were about to do required an NDA, it was bound to be one hell of a night.

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