A sexy category romance novella from Entangled's Brazen imprint...
Opposites attract. Enemies ignite...
There's nothing personal stylist Tabitha Drake loves more than pissing off Andrew Bode. He's uptight, he refuses to agree with her on anything, and she loathes the hideous brown suits and red power ties he wears. The man even hates ice cream. How can her best friend work for a man who hates ice cream? But the absolute worst thing about Drew? He's sexy as hell, and she's totally and ridiculously attracted to him.
Andrew Bode, CEO of the Bode-Wynn military contracting firm, is convinced he and Tab will never get along. Unfortunately, the infuriating—and sinfully tempting—stylist is his ticket to a major account. The only way to get what he wants is to agree to Tab's terms: a style makeover. However, Drew has a few terms of his own, most of which involve her naked in his bed. But neither of them are prepared when their lust-fueled hostility turns into something altogether unexpected...
About the Author
Nina Crespo lives in Florida where she indulges in her favorite passions -- the beach, kick boxing, a good glass of wine, date night with her own real-life hero and dancing.
Her lifelong addiction to romance began in her teens while on a "borrowing spree" in her older sister's bedroom where she discovered her first romance novel and became lost in the world of happily ever after.
Curiosity about people and places, including what's beyond the stars, fuels her writer's imagination. This wellspring of inspiration allows Nina to create sensual contemporary and paranormal stories, which she hopes will feed your own addiction for true love and romance.
Read an Excerpt
Naughty Little Wishes
A Birthday Dare Novella
By Nina Crespo, Kari Olson, Heather Howland
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2015 Nina Crespo
All rights reserved.
Andrew Bode swore under his breath. Why was she in town, and what the hell was she doing in his lobby?
The face of the guard at the security checkpoint filled in the details. He felt the man's pain.
Double-shot whiskey trouble flipped dark auburn hair over her shoulder and propped a hand on her hip. Stilettos added length to toned legs. A teal dress hugged feminine curves. A light Texas accent sang through her words. In her wacky world, opinions masqueraded as reason. Rules didn't exist. Rational choices? Hell no.
He'd learned about Tabitha Drake the hard way.
His security contractors lived and worked throughout the United States and around the world. A weeklong training exercise at Bode-Wynn's headquarters in the Cape two months ago provided the perfect opportunity for some of his elite team to socialize with friends and bring their significant others to a barbeque.
Unable to join them for a full day at the park, he'd stopped by before his meeting. From the moment Ethan had introduced her as a close acquaintance of his girlfriend passing through on her way to Dallas, they'd stood on opposite ends of every issue imaginable. Android versus Apple. Aggies versus Gators. Charcoal versus gas. He'd mentioned not eating sweets, and she'd argued the virtues of eating ice cream for breakfast.
A habit she obviously didn't indulge in often. The skimpy shorts and cropped tee she'd worn provided tantalizing views of smooth skin. Still, she'd pushed the point, practically making love to the spoon as she devoured strawberry ice cream. His weakness. He'd awakened more than once over the past weeks with a raging hard-on, dreaming of her breasts covered in his favorite dessert. And him licking away every damn drop.
His cock swelled. Irritation simmered. He had a company to run. Races to win. He didn't have time to screw around with Tabitha Drake.
Two people in front of him and four behind grumbled about the delay. He could have bypassed this step, but he and Devin agreed, as the heads of the company, they would set the standard. Bode-Wynn International had a rep for tough procedures, allowing them to win prime government and private security contracts.
The guard held up a makeup bag pulsing with vibrations. "What's in here?"
"Calm down and read what it says." Tab pointed. "Naughty Little Wishes. Are you with me?"
"Oh, I'm with you." The guard pulled pink, furry handcuffs from a designer bag.
A woman in line snickered. "I guess somebody's not getting their afternoon special."
That's it. His staff had better things to do than watch her for entertainment. Drew cut the line. Alarms blared as he set off the metal detector.
"Mr. Bode." The expression of the guard holding the goods morphed from amusement to solid professionalism. "We heard a buzzing noise, sir, and I found—"
"I know exactly what you found. Take her to your office."
"You're detaining me? I'm not carrying anything illegal or dangerous."
The guard led her away, and a familiar feminine scent—arousing, seductive, accusing—lingered.
Drew breathed a curse. This had nothing to do with the damn barbecue. This was about her raking up shit in his backyard and trying to get away with it. He turned to the other guards at the x-ray machine. "Clear this line. Now."
Everyone snapped into orderly action, including the employees in line. Assured security had the situation under control, he stalked to the office. The guard left the room and shut the door behind him.
Tab folded her arms and her breasts swelled. A glimpse of sheer lace and the flawless fit of the dress invited him to fill in the blank about what else she wore underneath. Not a thing, or the skimpiest panties known to man. She glanced at her things lying on the desk, and her green eyes narrowed with a defiant stare.
What was she up to? Makeup-shaped sex toys, furry handcuffs, condoms with the words "Bite Me" stamped on the packages. A vision of her cuffed, writhing in ecstasy under some faceless guy rolled in like a bad storm. Her best friend Jasmine had flown in from Texas to check on Bode-Wynn's employee wellness program. Tab had probably stopped by to tell her the juicy details of her latest escapade.
He held up the cuffs. "What the hell is this—your new hobby?"
Tab smiled as if she'd swiped the keys to every thought in his mind. "Wouldn't you like to know?"
* * *
Don't antagonize him. Jasmine had made her promise. Friends since the age of seven, she knew her too well. Right now, Jasmine probably sat at her desk, spidey senses on overload, wondering why she hadn't made it upstairs.
She would have missed him if the guards hadn't played show-and-tell with her purse. Or if she hadn't stared at him in the parking lot, but she couldn't help it. A month ago, when Jasmine described him as the serious type, she'd neglected to add on man candy. Tempting, infuriating man candy.
He'd shown up at the barbecue in a suit and tie, supposedly on his way to a meeting. His too-busy-for-fun attitude grated on her nerves. He'd actually gone into health-nut speak about not eating junk food. Really? At a freaking barbecue? Darn right, she'd dropped ice cream on her boobs when he'd said he didn't indulge in sweets. He needed someone to shock him into the real world. He had too much potential not to have a life.
His broad shoulders and lean waist screamed he had a hot body, but he hid wonderfulness underneath snoozefest brown suits and white button-down shirts. And why the red power tie? So overplayed. With his cockiness and natural presence, he didn't need a crutch. If he were one of her style clients, she'd make sure to highlight all of his best assets.
Gray tailored suit paired with a blue shirt and a navy blue silk tie with a hint of pattern. It would fit nicely with his dark hair and classically gorgeous face. Minus the scowl. Geez, what did he have planned next? A pack of drug-sniffing dogs and a strip search?
"You better have a good explanation." Drew unbuttoned his suit jacket and laid his hand on the desk. His shirt molded to his pecs, and her mind went rogue with possibilities. Him dressed in a torso-hugging T-shirt and faded jeans. What about low-riding board shorts and an unbuttoned linen shirt revealing sculpted abs? Or in nothing at all?
Stop panting. Yeah, he rated damn near spectacular, putting him in the lust category of doable. Maybe stay-all-night-with-breakfast-thrown-in-the-next-morning doable, but if she did sleep with him, she'd have to redress him and burn his old clothes on fashion principle. Not a good idea. She'd barely gotten off Jasmine's shit list over causing him to leave the barbecue with his boxers in a bunch ... or did he wear briefs?
"I want an answer. Why are you carrying all this stuff in your purse?"
Another shame. He needed a refresher on what to do with his mouth. Those kissable lips were created to make magic anywhere ... everywhere. His hazel-brown gaze locked with hers. Primal, sexual, like he did know how to deliver what those lips promised—a demand to open for the deep, delicious sweeps of his tongue.
Pulses spread through her middle, and she squeezed her thighs shut. "Do you really want to know?"
He stopped leaning on the desk. Cold irritation melted the warmth radiating between them and the heat from his gaze. "Save it. You cause any more trouble, I'm tossing you out."
Seriously? "Not unless you want an introduction to the pointy end of my Manolos." She stuffed her belongings back into her purse. "You ran from the barbecue with your tail tucked between your legs because you couldn't handle the conversation. Now you want to give me a hard time over it. Sorry, you'll have to find someone else. I don't play the arrogant jackass game."
He crowded her space, and the scent of his cologne, a mixture of citrus and amber, surrounded her. She caught herself swaying toward him as she soaked it in. Damn. Why did he have to smell so good?
"I didn't run." A deeper scowl sharpened his jaw line. "I left because I had a meeting, and I don't play stupid games. Now answer the question."
Don't antagonize him, huh? She wasn't the one who poked the bear this time. The latest from Lady Gaga, Jasmine's ringtone, blasted from her cell. Tab swallowed the wakeup call hovering on her lips. "You want an answer." She picked up a "Bite Me" condom left on the desk and slapped it against his chest. "Read it."
Pushing past him, she slung her purse over her shoulder and marched out the door.CHAPTER 2
"I'm out." Full from the eggplant parmesan she'd ordered at the Italian restaurant, Tab pushed the half-eaten slice of chocolate cheesecake across the table. Jasmine, a diehard chocoholic, dove in.
Brat. She could afford it. The burgundy wrap-dress Jasmine wore fit perfectly. Based on the sparkle in her eyes, she was excited about her upcoming trip to South Carolina to see Ethan. His demanding job as a security contractor for Bode-Wynn, and Jasmine living in Dallas and managing a hectic business travel schedule, didn't make it easy. Somehow, the two found a way to make it work. Jasmine would need the extra calories for all the horizontal workouts she'd put in with him over the next two weeks. When Jasmine and Ethan were together, they couldn't keep their hands off each other.
Tab smiled and sipped coffee. Score another win for the birthday dare. She and Jasmine started the dare tradition when they were eight years old. Since then, their challenges had led to more than a few wild escapades. Four months ago, she'd given Jasmine a birthday dare to get over her former fiancé, Asshat Cheating Greg. All it took was a one-night stand in Miami and karma delivering a swift kick past heartbreak for Jasmine to land the best present of her life. Ethan.
Jasmine's cell buzzed on the table. She glanced at a new text. "The rumor mill is on fire over Drew kicking you out."
"He didn't kick me out. I left because he went crazy dictator on me." Tab tapped a manicured nail on the table. "Show me where it states in Bode-Wynn's corporate manual a woman can't have a sex toy in her purse."
"It probably is after today, Ms. Freakster." Jasmine smoothed dark bangs from her forehead. "And it wasn't just one toy. You're hauling around a whole sex kit."
"I know it's hard to remember with your lust-fogged brain, but some of us don't have a boyfriend waiting to rip our clothes off. When I'm on the road, I enjoy a little discreet pleasure. I bought the toys on my way to the airport. I forgot the clerk pulled the battery tab on the lipstick vibe when she showed me the speed controls. How was I supposed to know the on-off button was so sensitive?"
"I suggest you remember that detail the next time you go through airport security or harassment is in your future. Speaking of harassment, what scary nugget of wisdom did you give Drew?"
"What do you mean?"
"Don't play dumb. If he's as pissed as everyone says he is, I know you didn't calmly pack up your toys and walk out. What did you say?"
Tab pressed a napkin to her lips and peeped at Jasmine. Damn. The patented stinky eye, guaranteed to wither all smart-ass comments. "Will you stop?" Jasmine's eyes narrowed.
"Fine. I may have suggested he bite me."
"Oh, real subtle."
"It was a vibrator, not a bomb. Did he get this upset when you and Ethan sexed it up in your office?"
"What?" Jasmine's golden-brown face flushed. "For the umpteenth time, Ethan and I did not have sex in my office. Stop trying to change the subject." She pointed with her fork. "You had to have the last word, again, like at the barbecue when you smeared ice cream on your boobs."
"So what if I did? No one should have all those silly rules about food and sex. It's unnatural."
"You shouldn't be so hard on him. The guy almost died in a car accident five years ago, and he's worked his butt off to get to where he is now. He's not bad once you get to know him."
"You told me to stay away from him."
Jasmine snorted. "Telling you not to do something is an open invitation to dive right in. When a cute guy's involved, you lose all control."
"No I don't."
Jasmine's brow arched. "The stockbroker, the lawyer you met in traffic court, the plastic-surgeon who offered all your friends nose jobs, the accountant, and the bodybuilding auditor who always did that thing when he...." She grimaced. "Anyway, ring any bells?"
Yeah, guys with hot bodies she'd loved dressing and undressing until their hang-ups got in the way. She liked flexibility. They wanted to live by the clock. She enjoyed surprises. They couldn't handle the unpredictable. She liked harmless fun. They never quite got the joke. All of them hid behind their egos. They'd also shut her out when she refused to allow them to ignore the truth they needed to face for their own good. Andrew fit in as their long lost brother.
"Trust me. I'm not interested in Andrew Bode, especially after what happened today. Flash a few sex toys and minds sink into the gutter. They're not a big deal. I read the other day toy parties are becoming popular. In fact, I've been thinking of throwing you one for your bridal shower and adding in a boudoir photo session with the bridesmaids. Ooh, and the guys. Imagine how a sexy photo of Ethan and his friends would turn out."
A vision emerged and Tab dragged in an involuntary breath. Drew's defined chest and what she imagined as a flawless eight-pack of abs on display. A pair of Calvin Klein micro-underwear molded to his promising package. Hazel-brown eyes narrowed with a brooding look as he raked back his dark hair, full lips parted in the release of a sexy growl.
"Whoa. Hold on a minute." Jasmine glared. "You need to wipe that look off your face. You're not allowed to imagine my boyfriend half-naked, and no one's talking marriage. We just started dating, but thanks for the heads-up on the plan. I'm eloping."
"Oh please, don't go there. If you run, I'll track you down faster than a Botoxed ex-beauty queen huntin' down a million-dollar alimony check."
Jasmine gave her an exasperated look. "A Botoxed ex ... Where do you come up with this stuff? Never mind. Forget I asked. Your twenty-eighth birthday is coming up. Mess with me, and I'll dare you to walk down the street in a clown suit and heels."
"Just so I'm coordinated, are we talking one-inch kitten heels or six-inch stilettos?"
Whatever. Jasmine and Ethan may not have realized it yet, but they were more than halfway to happily-ever-after, crazy in love. When they decided to head down the aisle, she'd make sure Jasmine had the best bridal sendoff ever.
Jasmine's cell chimed with a call. "Sorry. I better take this. It's Vanessa."
"Devin Wynn's assistant? She was a blast at the barbecue. I like her."
"Good because she's possibly my new, sane best friend. Jealous?" Jasmine shot her a syrupy smile and answered the phone. "Hi. No, I'm having lunch with Tab."
Tab glanced at her watch. Nearly time to drive Jasmine to the airport. They didn't get much girl time these days back in Dallas. She'd set aside three weeks for her style-consult clients in Florida, hoping she and Jasmine would have a chance to catch up, but, once again, their schedules hadn't matched. Two weeks from now, Jasmine would fly back to Texas, and she had clients to see in Virginia after leaving Florida. But it was all good. Jasmine having a couple of weeks with Ethan trumped everything. She deserved happiness.
Tab toyed with her coffee cup. Maybe someday she'd get lucky in the guy department, too, but time with her clients often got in the way of serious relationships. She didn't have a psych degree, but closets made the perfect confessionals. Embracing change wasn't just about clothes. Her clients faced fears and found their motivation in life. As she got to know them, and more about their dreams, she offered advice and firm nudges in the right direction.
Jasmine sighed in sympathy into the phone. "I'm sure if you talk to Devin, he'll understand. If you're sick, you can't go to the party tonight ... I wish I could take your place, but my flight leaves in a couple of hours. Are you sure you don't know someone who can fill in?"
Excerpted from Naughty Little Wishes by Nina Crespo, Kari Olson, Heather Howland. Copyright © 2015 Nina Crespo. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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