Sultry encounters, forbidden passion, irresistible temptation-what more could you want in a collection of four scintillating stories by today's sexiest authors?
Hot and Bothered
Luring Lucy by Lori Foster: All Lucy was looking for when she went to her vacation home was an innocent fling to quell the yearning she had felt since her husband died four years ago. She never expected her longtime friend Bram to lure her into a love affair so hot.
Truth or Dare by Laura Bradley: Undercover P.I. Shay McIntyre takes on the guise of a reporter to uncover who's behind the suspicious deaths of two bullriders, and finds herself locking horns with the sinfully tempting Luke Wilder in a deliciously wicked game of truth or dare.
Compromised by Gayle Callen: Country baron John Malory nobly offers to wed Lady Elizabeth Stanwood when they are caught together alone in a garden. Elizabeth never expected to be compromised--or to soon be wed to a man whose affection she does not welcome....until he changes her mind with lingering kisses and a passion she has only dreamed of.
Treading Dangerous Waters by Victoria Marquez: Sofia's plans to relax on a cruise are ruined when she encounters James, her aunt's future son-in-law, who is intent on breaking up his father's wedding...unless Sofia can distract him. But she's treading dangerous waters, for James has designs of his own, which include seducing the Latina beauty until she surrenders completely to him.
|Publisher:||St. Martin''s Publishing Group|
|File size:||348 KB|
About the Author
Lori Foster is the New York Times bestselling author of romance novels including her Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor series and Too Much Temptation. In 2001 she received the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for Series Romantic Fantasy.
Laura Bradley is an author and contributor to Hot and Bothered.
Gayle Callen is coauthor of the steamy story collection, Hot and Bothered.
Victoria Marquez is a coauthor of the steamy story collection, Hot and Bothered.
Read an Excerpt
Hot and Bothered
By Lori Foster, Laura Bradley, Gayle Callen, Victoria Marquez
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2001 Lori Foster, Laura Bradley, Gayle Callen, Victoria Marquez
All rights reserved.
Sweltering air, humid and thick, tugged at his hair and blew over his bared skin as he accelerated the car to seventy-five. He'd left the top of his Mustang down, knowing he'd need the exposure to the hot wind and the faded blue sky to counteract his increasingly volatile mood.
The sun was a broiling white ball, reflecting off the hoods and windshields of passing vehicles, making the blacktop waver and swim from the heat. There wasn't a cloud in sight along the endless stretch of I-75, promising nothing but more scorching heat. But the heat of the day was nothing compared to the fire pulsing under his skin, demanding release. Anger. Urgency. Lust.
Bram Giles gritted his teeth, and his knuckles turned white as his fingers curled and clenched around the steering wheel. He thought of how the night would end, how he'd make it end, and the turbulent thoughts made his lust expand. No matter what, he wouldn't let her run from him tonight. He'd been too patient too long and now she had some harebrained idea of indulging in a summer fling. With someone else.
Bram took the exit from the highway on squealing tires and turned left, heading toward the lake community and the woman who had driven him crazy for more years than any man should suffer. By the time he'd realized what she was up to, when that carnal look in her eyes and the way she'd held her lithe little body had finally registered, she'd already gotten a two-hour head start on him. It had taken Bram another frustration-filled hour to throw together some clothes, rearrange his schedule and his plans, and get on the road.
That one hour had felt like a lifetime.
Was she flirting even now, trying to pick up the first boater who went by? Had she met someone in town on her way to the lake? Maybe she'd even brought someone along with her, guaranteeing her success.
Whoever it was would be swiftly booted out.
Bram's foot pressed harder on the gas, speeding the car along until he hit the narrower gravel road that led to her summer house. She hadn't been to that house in four years, not since she'd caught her husband, David, there with another woman. Bram's stomach tightened with pain.
David was an idiot, now a dead idiot.
Jesus, Bram still missed him; they'd been best friends who were also like brothers.
But more than that, more than anything else in the world, he wanted David's widow. Bram had always wanted her. He had taught himself to live with the clawing desire, to push his needs deep down into his soul so no one else would ever know. But now she was free and obviously over her grief. Now she was ready.
Tonight he would have her.
The winding turns on the old country road forced Bram to slow the Mustang, but it did nothing to slow his thoughts. Sweat trickled down the middle of his chest and stuck his hair to the back of his neck. Was she eyeballing some guy right now? Was she making plans? Handing out come-ons?
Bram wiped the sweat from his brow and cursed. Once he got to the summer house, he'd jump into the crisply cold water of the lake to cool off — after he'd set Lucy straight on how things were going to be between them from now on.
She wouldn't like it.
He wasn't giving her a choice.
By the time Bram slipped the Mustang into the sloping drive cut out of the side of the hill behind the house, he almost had himself under control. The road was the highest point on her property, with the land dropping downward toward the lake and the house built in between. The house faced the lake with patio doors and a long, wide deck, while the back butted into the hill, surrounded by mature trees. It was because of the higher vantage point of the road that Bram saw her immediately.
His temper kicked into overdrive at the same time that his lust nearly consumed him.
Lust always rose to the surface when he got near Lucy. As he looked her over from top to toes, Bram cursed softly under his breath. At thirty-nine, Lucy was one sexy-as-sin woman, all lush curves and mature angles. Never before had he seen her put those assets on display.
Today, she was most definitely Haunting her wares. For another man.
He drew a deep breath and concentrated on not being a brute, on not storming down the hill and terrorizing both Lucy and the guy ogling her by letting his temper loose. It wasn't easy, not with her looking like that.
A sexy little pair of cutoffs, unlike the longer, more staid walking shorts she generally favored at home, hugged her rounded ass like a lover and left a long length of lightly tanned thighs exposed to the casual viewer. Her silky dark hair hung loose to her shoulders, playfully teased by a soft hot breeze, and her bare feet nestled in the thick summer grass.
Worse that that — or better, depending on your point of view — she had on a cream-colored halter top that left her back bare and had the young worker she spoke with fidgeting with lecherous interest. The worker kept looking at her chest, and Bram had the horrible suspicion that her nipples could be seen through the soft material.
A haze of red clouded Bram's vision and he slammed his car door hard, deliberately alerting them to his presence. Both Lucy and the worker, unaware of him until that moment, turned to look up the hill. Lucy shaded her eyes with a slim hand, but the worker took two steps back, obviously seeing the fury on Bram's face despite the mirrored sunglasses still covering his eyes.
If the guy had any sense at all he'd have already abandoned the mower and headed for his service truck.
Lucy started up the hill, her brow pulled into a worried frown. Bram saw that her nipples were, in fact, puckered against the material and quite noticeable. Every muscle in his body tensed in reaction.
"Bram? What's wrong?" Then with a touch of panic: "Did something happen to the kids? Are they all right?"
Her anxiety smote him hard. Damn, he hadn't meant to scare her; she was a mother first and foremost — which was one of the most appealing things about her. Ignoring the nervous worker as he headed straight toward Lucy, Bram rumbled, "The kids are fine, Lucy. They're at Marcy's."
Her gaze skipped over him, from his athletic shoes up his bare legs to his wrinkled shorts to his sweat-dampened T-shirt with the sleeves cut off. "But I thought you were taking them camping."
Bram had thought that was the plan, too. As an honorary uncle to David and Lucy's two teenage children and as David's best friend, he'd filled the bill of doting uncle rather nicely. The kids loved him, and he loved them — just like they were his own. They'd willingly agreed to accept Marcy as the provider for the next week when he'd told them something vitally important had come up. At fourteen and sixteen, they didn't need a babysitter, but Lucy insisted that an adult be available in case of an emergency.
Bram took his responsibilities to the kids seriously and had made certain they were settled securely before he'd been able to leave.
He hadn't told Karyn or Kent why he had to renege on their camping trip, but he could tell by the look on Marcy's face that she understood. She was Lucy's best friend, the only one who hadn't gossiped about her during the divorce and the horrible scenes that David had caused. Oh yeah, Marcy knew that Bram wanted Lucy. The woman wasn't blind.
Not that Bram minded. Soon everyone in Lucy's neighborhood and his own would know that he was staking a claim, and to hell with any gossip that might ensue.
Lucy glanced nervously at the worker as Bram descended on them. She was confused by his appearance and probably disheartened to have her illicit tryst interrupted. The little darling had been on the make, and she'd apparently already picked out a conquest.
Bram wanted to take the younger man apart but couldn't really blame him for his interest. He knew any male in his midtwenties, which this guy looked to be, was likely to have been interested. He couldn't go around destroying every guy who looked at her, especially if she started issuing invitations. What he had to do was give Lucy a new target for her erotic curiosity. Himself.
Bram didn't slow in his pace and stalked right up to Lucy until he stood mere inches in front of her. Her long dark lashes left feathery shadows on her smooth sun-kissed cheeks, and her full mouth was parted slightly. Her eyes, so clear and bright a blue they put the sky to shame, watched him warily.
Bram could detect the subtle salty scent of her warmed skin and hair. A very light sheen of perspiration glowed on her upper chest and in the cleavage she had clearly on display. Her honey-colored shoulders glowed, too, as did her supple thighs.
Bram felt his own flesh heating with sweat, and it had a lot more to do with the proximity of his woman than it did with the unrelenting sun.
"Bram?" Her voice emerged as a breathless whisper, uncertain, a tiny bit frightened. And, if he didn't miss his guess, tinged with sudden awareness of him as a man. "Why are you here? What's going on?"
Showing his teeth in what Bram hoped looked more like a grin than a warning, he growled, "Because I missed you, of course." Then taking her totally by surprise he caught her arms above her elbows, lifted her to her toes — and kissed her the way he'd been wanting to kiss her for a very long time.
Her parted lips gave him the advantage, letting his tongue slip in deep to taste the sweet hot recesses of her mouth and move lazily along her own tongue. Lust boiled inside him, savage and hungry — and it was just a kiss.
Bram could only imagine how intense it would feel when it was his cock sliding-into her tender body, when her legs wrapped tight around his waist and he could fill his hands with her breasts, her luscious ass. He nearly groaned with the thought, imagining her hot and wet, thinking how tight she'd be after four long years of abstinence. ... His testicles tightened and he did groan, low and raw.
Lucy was obviously stunned by his primal display, but the worker got the message loud and clear — just as Bram had intended.
Lucy held her breath, amazed and embarrassed. She felt caught in a whirlwind, naked and on display, and she didn't understand.
Bram was a friend, practically a member of the family. He'd never touched her sexually before, but wow — he was touching her now!
Ignoring Bram's kiss was out of the question. It wasn't the first time he'd ever kissed her, but the others had all been brotherly pecks and in laughing friendship. Never like this. Never so ... carnal.
This was a kiss of possession, a kiss of incredible passion. She'd never experienced anything like it, even through fifteen years of marriage, and her heart did two wild flips before settling into a frantic rhythm of panic, excitement, and, amazingly enough, response.
Lucy flattened one hand on Bram's chest, wanting to push him away but using it for balance instead. The damp cotton of his shirt did nothing to shield his hot masculine flesh. He felt blistering hot and wonderfully solid against her palm. She realized he was coiled tightly, his muscles iron-hard and straining, his heartbeat thumping in a fast gallop that mirrored her own.
The young worker whom she'd specifically hired because he'd flirted with her cleared his throat loudly. Bram ignored him, which left her no option but to do the same.
All too aware of the heat of Bram's mouth, his delicious taste, and the overwhelming strength in his muscled body, Lucy tried to protest. All that emerged was a small sound, barely audible, a mere whimper that could have been interpreted any number of ways.
Abruptly Bram released her. Her lips felt swollen and wet, her body both tight and too soft. She would have fallen down the hill and tumbled into the lake if Bram hadn't reached back out for her, throwing one bare, heavily muscled arm around her shoulders and literally anchoring her to his side. Caught in the cage of his body, Lucy felt small and defenseless, and strangely enough, that feeling stirred others, rousing emotions she hadn't dealt with in far too long. Female to male, soft to hard.
The idea of flirting with a stranger had titillated her senses. Bram's kiss had gone far beyond that. She felt as if she'd been torched.
Her brain may have turned to mush, but her body was working on full alert.
Lucy shook her head, attempting to regain control so she could figure out just what it was Bram was doing. Why had he kissed her? Did he think to somehow warn off the worker by intimating a nonexistent involvement? To protect her virtue?
Ha. Bram couldn't know that she wanted the indiscriminate fling. She wanted to feel again, to be alive as a woman, as a sexual being — and then she'd sell the summer house and get over the past, burying all the hurt once and for all.
The worker looked at her nervously, as if asking for instructions. The difference between Bram and the young man she'd hired was like the difference between an impressive oak and a new sapling. The younger man was rangy with muscles, lean and toned. But Bram was solid and thick with layered muscle, large and in his prime. Overwhelming. He exuded sheer masculinity and iron will.
Lucy wanted to fan her face, still reeling from that kiss. She used to wonder what it'd be like to be kissed by the infamous Bram Giles. Shortly into her marriage, when David had lost interest with teasing and nuzzling and foreplay, she'd thought of all she knew of Bram, how the women sang his praises and his own testament — by word and deed — to loving sex and females. She'd always thought that sex with Bram would be something almost too delicious to bear.
Now she knew what it was like to have his mouth, and she doubted she'd ever sleep peacefully again. His kiss alone had been more sexual than anything she'd experienced in half a decade.
What did that kiss mean?
Bram turned his head toward her, but with his reflective sunglasses on she couldn't even begin to read his expression. A little embarrassed, she hoped he didn't see her reaction, that he wouldn't know his tactic to warn off other men in a half-baked plan to protect her had actually turned her on. He was so cavalier about sex and intimacy, accepting it as a natural, healthy part of his life. After her marriage, he probably assumed she was, too.
He'd have been far from the mark on that one.
Lucy held her breath until Bram again looked away. With his free hand, Bram dug into his pocket, pulled out two twenty-dollar bills, and handed them to the young stud she'd hired to tend her lawn — with hopes for more.
"Get lost," Bram ordered in a low rasp, and the worker, after snatching up the money, fled.
"Bram," she protested, looking around at the yard with only half the work done, "he hadn't finished."
"He was finished, all right." She couldn't see his eyes, but she read his fierce expression all the same.
Lucy lost her temper. Oh, he'd thrown her with that kiss, but she was squarely on her feet now. And he'd just chased off her most promising prospect.
If Bram had some macho notion of looking after her, keeping her pure, she'd just have to help him rethink it. For this one week, for one time in her life, she didn't want to be pure. She wanted — needed — to feel the burning satisfaction of lust one more time.
"Are you nuts?" Lucy demanded in a warning growl. "Just what the hell do you think you're doing, Bram?"
Bram stared out over the diamond surface of the lake. It shone with twinkling sunlight and the occasional ripples from a fish. During the week, the tourism was thankfully low, leaving the area quiet and serene for those who owned lakefront property. On the weekends, though, it got downright rowdy, boats and water-skiers and Jet Skis everywhere.
For now, Bram thought, watching the worker drive away in a cloud of spewing gravel and dust, he had Lucy all to himself. She could rant and rave as much as she wanted, but there would be no one to hear.
Without bothering to explain his intentions, Bram scooped her up into his arms and headed for the house. His body relished the feel of her, her gentle weight. Damn, it felt good to finally hold her, to have her in his arms where she belonged.
Lucy gasped so hard she choked, and when she was finally able to pull in a wheezing breath he was already on the steps leading to the deck. She smacked him hard on the side of the head. "What ... is ... the ... matter ... with ... you?"
He kissed her again. He wanted to keep kissing her, everywhere, all over her delectable body, but he knew they'd both end up rolling down the hill if he didn't give appropriate attention to where he stepped. "I have something to explain to you, woman, and it's best done in private just in case there's anyone fishing on the lake who might hear you yelling."
"Why," she asked loudly, "would I yell?"
"You're yelling now," he pointed out, thinking he sounded most reasonable.
She started to club him again, so Bram squeezed her tighter. Lucy generally wasn't a violent woman. Of course, she usually wasn't on the make, either. "None of that," Bram told her, trying to contain his satisfaction. "I can't very well explain if you knock me silly."
Excerpted from Hot and Bothered by Lori Foster, Laura Bradley, Gayle Callen, Victoria Marquez. Copyright © 2001 Lori Foster, Laura Bradley, Gayle Callen, Victoria Marquez. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
TRUTH OR DARE,
TREADING DANGEROUS WATERS,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Lori Foster story was great.
The first story was nice, although the premises made me a bit queesy. The second one was just stupid, with a poor writing style which didn't help one bit. I was impatient for it to end... The third one was annoying, because you had problems believing that the two protagonists had fallen in love (she did act TSTL - too stupid to live) The fourth one was OK, but couldn't redeem the middle two... Frankly, there are lots of other books out there more worth your money (and mine...)
After reading the first story by Lori Foster I couldn't keep my hands off my husband. This story was great and hot hot hot. The second story was excellent also. The last two were okay but not as hot. I loved it.
**** Four terrific stories by four of today's best romance authors. Each story is packed with romance and men that will make your heart drool! Pick this one up for a wonderful beach or pool side read! ****
Treading Waters you can understand Daniels' dilemma about his father since his father just got divorced from his latest wife whHot an Bothered is an anthology of four stories that will make your summer nights even steamier. Take Luring Lucy by Lori Foster, Bram rushes to Lucys' summer cottage when he realises she is there for a summer fling. Being in love with Lucy for years, he hopes to get there before she succeeds with anyone else but him. Luring Lucy grabs you from the first line in the first paragraph and doesnt let go, even after it ends you still want more. Lucy and Bram are not your typical hero/heroine, they are both older then the usual couple. Luring Lucy is also a typical Lori Foster in that you are always wanting more. Truth or Dare by Laura Bradley is about private detective Shay McIntyre who goes undercover at a rodeo, trying to find out who is killing the bullriders. She meets and is instantly attracted to Luke Wilder, who is also one of the suspects. I liked Truth or Dare, it was the first time I read Laura Bradley but it wont be my last. Shay and Luke are both likeable and the romance is hot. Compromised by Gayle Callen features John Malory who is forced to marry Elizabeth Stanwood when they are caught in a compromising position. I didnt like this one as well as the others, the heroine was whiny and spoiled and really got on my nerves. I had a hard time forgiving her even after she did a 180 by the end of the story. Treading Dangerous Waters by Victoria Marquez is the last of the four stories. Sofia meets Daniel on a cruise, but they are on total opposite sides. He is trying to stop his father from marrying Sofias' aunt. In o cleaned him out and doesnt want a repeat performance. I recommend you read Hot and Bothered in front of an air conditioner with some ice water.
¿Luring Lucy¿ by Lori Foster. Four years ago, Lucy caught her husband in bed with another woman. Following the divorce, she swore off males, but now wants a brief fling to satiate her hormones. Long term friend Bram plans to be that man except with one change in her definitions, brief in his mind means lifetime. ¿Truth or Dare¿ by Laura Bradley. In Texas, Shay goes undercover pretending to be a reporter in order to learn who killed the bullriders. To her chagrin she begins to fall in love with the prime suspect. ¿Compromised¿ by Gayle Callen. In 1589 London, Lady Elizabeth meets John in a party. They are caught in an uncompromising position in the nearby garden and forced to wed. Stunned that she finds this country bumpkin attractive, Elizabeth wonders if he loves her too? ¿Treading Dangerous Waters¿ by Victoria Marquez. Sofita wants Aunt Lucita to wed Daniel, but his son James opposes the marriage. Sofita plans to distract James with her feminine wiles so the older couple can marry in peace and harmony. However, she never expected to want to join her aunt in holy matrimony with the sexy James as her lifetime lover. The four tales are quite different occurring in radically diverse settings. Yet each contains a sexy hunk, a gorgeous female protagonist, tons of torrid passion, and entertaining plots that are well written. HOT AND BOTHERED lives up to its title as each contribution seduces the reader. Harriet Klausner