Playing for Keeps, Book 3
Entangled Publishing (November 16th, 2015)
He'll unlock her wildest fantasies...
Private investigator Curtis Jagger has always had a thing for Alix Harris. She was the darling of their high school--gorgeous, popular, class president...and, he suspects, just as naughty as she is nice. Now Jag has the opportunity to show her what she's missing. To show her that sometimes being bad can be sexy as hell...
Alix has always done what she's supposed to, and it's gotten her exactly nowhere. Determined to please herself--in every way possible--she accepts Jag's mysterious invitation to his ranch. In front of Jag's camera lens, Alix finds freedom far beyond her expectations. A freedom where she takes the reins and rides out every wicked desire.
But in one week, Alix will have to return to her real world where politics reign. A world that can't include Jagger, or she'll lose everything.
Alix Harris walked the length of the barn, yelping when a blade of straw cut into the soft flesh between her sandaled toes. Rivulets of perspiration trickled down her cleavage in the stifling heat, plastering the bodice of her dress to her skin. God, she was so not in the mood for this today. She plucked at the expensive fabric, the slight stirring of air doing little to cool her overheated flesh or lighten her mood.READ MORE
Hot, sweaty, and hardly dressed for a working dude ranch, she haphazardly tucked a long strand of hair back into her once-perfectly-coiffed ponytail. She shook her head, her thoughts rewinding back to a week ago, to when she’d received a hand-delivered invitation promising her week of R&R at a ranch in cowboy country. She’d had no intention of going until—well—she’d rather not think about the events that drove her to the airport and then to the other side of the country. The second she came face-to-face with the boy from her youth—the one who’d been a bit of a geek back in the day, but still managed to invade her private thoughts at night—she knew what this reunion was really all about.
Honestly, what else could it be? She’d caught the hunger in his glance when she’d exited the plane, noticed the way his eyes darkened as they traveled the length of her body, gazing at her like she was a tall glass of water and he’d been in the prairie sun too long. She also noticed his sidekicks, Coop and Mac, who were standing on the tarmac waiting for Julia and Jess—girls she knew from years ago and who had received the same invitation as her—to disembark. What kind of guys tracked down women from their past to offer them a free vacation without wanting something in return? None. She was used to a world of tit for tat and could only assume Jag wanted the former.
She barely knew Curtis Jagger back in high school, and she was a little shocked to discover that he’d brought her here to live out some juvenile fantasy with her. In their teens, they’d traveled in different circles, and even though the president of the audiovisual club had grown into a gorgeous man with a banging body, it didn’t mean she was going to hang around and become his plaything for the next week. She was so done with men, and rocking the headboard a time or two—or ten—with Jag was the last thing she needed right now. No matter how sexy he looked in that damn Stetson, or how long it had been since she’d been touched.
Don’t even get me started on that.
What she needed to do was turn around, get on the next plane back home to Nova Scotia, and figure out what the hell she was going to do with her life.
Why would I want to do that? To run another political campaign for her fiancé? She snorted. What a way to put her hard-earned politics and international relations degree to use.
If only life came with a redo button. Even if it did, she doubted she could change hers, anyway. With a father who was mayor and a socialite mother who backed him unconditionally, she’d been groomed for the public life since the get-go.
Dammit, she was so tired of being a doormat, tired of doing what everyone else wanted her to do. She scuffed her Jimmy Choos on the barn floor as she paced. Maybe she should just say the hell with them all and stay here for a week and enjoy a few fantasies with the hot cowboy. What is that they say? An eye for an eye? Wouldn’t that put her fiancé in his place?
With her back to Jag, she continued to pace, and a laugh caught in her throat, even though there was nothing funny about any of this.
“Hey,” a deep, masculine voice said from behind. “You okay?”
Alix spun around, and when she found Jag watching her with rich, smoldering brown eyes, there was nothing she could do to stop her mind from traveling down an erotic path. One where limits were pushed, boundaries were crossed, and satisfaction was guaranteed. Her gaze traveled over his broad shoulders and wide chest, going lower to take in the jeans that hugged him to perfection. Her body stirred in a way it hadn’t in so very long. Maybe having a wild week with him was exactly what she needed to do.
Except that is so not like me.
Or maybe it is, and I’ve just stifled that side of myself for far too long.
“Alix,” Jag said again, taking a measured step toward her. “Relax. I promise you, everything is going to be okay.”
With his hands shoved deep in his pockets, his grin was sexy and laid-back, but his easygoing nature did nothing to relax her. She sucked in a quick breath and ignored the need taking up residency between her legs as her voice lodged somewhere in her throat.
He slanted his head, his dark eyes full of heat and humor as they moved over her face. “You really don’t remember me?”
“No,” she lied, not wanting to admit to anything or let him think she was going to play into his fantasy. She cleared her throat and tried for normal. “Should I?”
He took another step forward, and apprehension surged inside her as the clean, spicy smell of his skin drowned out the aromas inside the barn. She filled her lungs with his scent. If he smelled this good, how would he taste? Her mind raced, envisioning her tongue on his hard body, licking, teasing, and savoring the saltiness of his skin. Oh God… Her sex clenched, and she shifted uncomfortably. In an attempt to take the edge off, she squeezed her thighs together, cursing her body for its unwanted reactions. When her attempts proved futile, she starched her spine and worked to purify her thoughts before she became completely unhinged.
What the hell is wrong with me?
“I used to sign the club’s audiovisual equipment out to you back in high school,” he explained. He watched her for a moment, like he was waiting for a lightbulb to go off inside her head. She folded her arms and stared at him, hoping to give him the impression that she had no idea what he was talking about. “That’s okay,” he said. “I’m not that guy anymore.” He paused and pressed his thumb into a muscular chest that her traitorous fingers suddenly itched to touch. “I‘d really like for you to get to know the guy I am today, anyway.”
Too bad really, because the Jag from her youth was sweet and caring, always going out of his way to sign out expensive video club equipment to her when she needed it for one of her student council functions, or simply because she wanted to borrow it for her own personal use. But because he was from the wrong side of the tracks, and she had a reputation to uphold in society, her parents forbade her to associate with him, even though he was so much nicer than the privileged boys from her circle.
Tired of being yanked around by everyone in her life, she said, “No games, Jag. Tell me why you really invited me here.” She held his gaze and smoothed down the bodice of her designer dress that belonged nowhere near a ranch, but she’d raced to the airport so fast she had no time to go shopping for something more appropriate.
“We were sort of friends once and I was thinking about you a few weeks ago.” He gave a casual shrug. “I thought we could reconnect, get to know each other better.” His lips twitched, but there was something very honest and open in his eyes as he looked at her.
“How will we do that?” she asked bluntlyCOLLAPSE