In this first ever short story collection, New York Times bestselling author Brenda Jackson takes us on five steamy, sexy adventures. From a freelance writer whose interview with a ruthless, ambitious, and very handsome millionaire turns into something so much more to an attorney's explosive encounter with a sexy club owner. From an event planner's very steamy night with an old flame to a businesswoman who wants to get back the man she let slip away while climbing the ladder of success. Experience just how much Brenda Jackson can turn up the heat!
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|Publisher:||St. Martin's Publishing Group|
|Edition description:||First Edition|
|Product dimensions:||8.26(w) x 5.50(h) x 1.21(d)|
About the Author
Brenda Jackson is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of numerous novels, including the Westmorelands series and, from St. Martin's Press, Taste of Passion and The Playa's Handbook, among others. She was the first African-American author to have a book published under the Harlequin/Silhouette Desire line of books and the first African-American romance author to make USA Today's Bestseller's List and the New York Times Bestseller's List for the series romance genre. Jackson has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Jacksonville University, and worked for thirty-seven years in management at a major insurance company. She now divides her time between family, writing and traveling. She has been married for thirty-seven years to her childhood sweetheart, Gerald, and they have two sons. She lives in the city where she was born, Jacksonville, Florida.
Read an Excerpt
Some Like it Hot
By Brenda Jackson
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2006 Brenda Jackson
All rights reserved.
Lincoln Corbain sat at the bar of Leo's sizing up the crowd of people there. Since moving to D.C. over a month ago, he had discovered the upscale establishment was one with a very impressive clientele that ranged from politicians, musicians, and foreign dignitaries to college professors, bankers, and, like him, attorneys.
Compared to many of the supper clubs he had patronized in other major cities, this one had a certain homey warmth with its round rosewood tables that held small Tiffany-style lamps and colored oil candles. But at the same time it maintained a high degree of classiness with its double mahogany doors with brass fixtures, narrow floor-to-ceiling stained-glass windows, and intricately patterned parquet floor area specially designed for dancing. Even the bar stool he was sitting on was tall and padded with a contoured back that provided comfort to one's body while it coaxed you to relax and get in the groove.
Most of the people here tonight were, as he was fast becoming, regulars who usually rounded out certain evenings by dropping by to enjoy the good food, live entertainment, and an atmosphere that allowed you to unwind with someone or, if you preferred, by yourself, the latter of which he had decided to do tonight.
"So are you all settled in now?" the bartender named Flint asked Linc as he took away Linc's empty glass and placed another mixed drink in front of him. During the day Flint St. Johns worked as an agent for the IRS. He claimed the reason he moonlighted as a bartender one or two nights a week was because the extra money was too good to pass up and he enjoyed meeting people. He was also a close friend of Noah Hardcastle, one of the owners. Noah shared that ownership position with his younger identical twin brothers, Tyrell and Tyrone, and Ayanna Hardcastle, their female cousin.
Since the night Linc had first visited Leo's he'd decided that another thing he liked about this place was the open friendliness of the four owners. They usually made themselves visible each night and occasionally mingled with their customers.
"Yeah, I'm pretty much settled in," Linc replied, lifting the glass to his lips to take a sip of his drink. Whatever comment he intended to add was forgotten when he noticed the couple who walked in. He frowned, thinking that even in the dim lighting the woman looked familiar. His gaze sharpened as it flowed over her entire body from head to toe. When the memory hit him of where he knew her from, he drew in a deep breath seconds before his entire body went completely still.
Linc forced himself to draw in another deep breath as he recalled exactly how long it had been since he had seen her. It had been well over four years since they had met during Black Colleges Week in Daytona Beach. At twenty-seven he had been in his last year of law school at Southern University, and at twenty-two she had been a senior at Florida A&M University majoring in journalism. And with the memory of their meeting came the memories of the red-hot nights of passion they'd shared within days after they had met.
He suddenly had poignant flashbacks of her body under his, wet and wild as she moaned out his name over and over again. Blood rushed to Linc's midsection when he remembered how she had felt in his arms and the immense pleasure he had gotten from having her there. And he had made doubly sure each time they made love that every intimate part of her body had felt cherished. He had been her first lover, an issue she had refused to talk about after he had realized that surprising fact.
Linc averted his gaze from her to the man by her side. Was he her husband, lover, friend, or associate? He released a deep sigh, realizing he didn't have a right to know the man's relationship to Raven, nor did he have a right to feel the heated jealousy that suddenly ripped through his gut.
His gaze returned to her. He liked the way she wore her hair now, chin-length and cut into a trendy and sassy style. The last time he had seen her she'd been sporting braids, a head full of them. They had met on the beach during a week when college students were known to have a wild and rip-roaring good time. They had both decided that after years of enduring countless nights of burning the midnight oil studying for exams, and with graduation only a few months away, they deserved to have fun and experience a week of momentary madness.
And they had.
At the end of that week, they had had no excuses or regrets for what they'd shared. Their time together had been too special for either. Nor had they made any promises to keep in touch. They had both walked away accepting that week for exactly what it was — a spring-break fling.
But that hadn't stopped him from thinking about her often since then, or realizing that any woman he had been intimate with since Raven had failed miserably in comparison. Nor had it stopped him from traveling to Tallahassee, Florida, the weekend after his graduation to look her up, only to discover she had left town already.
Linc sighed as his gaze continued to take in all of her. She was more beautiful than he remembered, and there was a certain degree of sophistication about her. It was probably the outfit she was wearing, he decided. The light blue dress flattered her body, as the silky material clung to her curves and showed off her gorgeous long legs. Her attire during their week together in Daytona Beach had ranged from skimpy tops and shorts and alluring bikini swimwear to nothing at all.
He had preferred her in nothing at all and had seen her body completely nude most of the time. During those times there had not been anything sophisticated about her. She became a sensuous and passionate diva whenever their bodies mated.
"Drink too strong?"
Linc glanced up at Flint and saw the man looking at him quizzically. "No, the drink's fine." When he glanced back in the direction of where the couple had been standing seconds ago, he saw a hostess leading them to a table on the other side of the room. Linc's irritation grew and he frowned into his drink before taking another sip.
"You sure the drink's OK?"
Linc lifted his head and noticed the look of concentration on Flint's face. "Yeah, I thought I may have recognized someone," he said, once again glancing across the room.
Following the direction of Linc's gaze, Flint studied the couple being escorted to a table. "Which one do you think you know? Raven or the man she's with?"
Linc lifted a surprised brow. "You know Raven?"
Flint lifted a brow of his own. "Maybe," he answered smoothly as a hint of a smile played at the corners of his mouth. "Do you know her?"
Linc stared at the bartender narrowly. He felt like he was being cross-examined and didn't relish the feel of that one bit. He also couldn't help but wonder what Flint's relationship was to Raven, since the man had suddenly gone from friendly and talkative to tight-lipped inquisitive — a real IRS man.
Linc shrugged. He would never divulge to anyone the extent of his past relationship with Raven. What they had shared that week in Daytona was private and personal. "I met Raven while in Florida one year during college spring break," he finally said, hoping that bit of information would appease Flint's curiosity, because that was all the information he was giving out. "How do you know her?"
Flint went about dusting off the counter, and for a minute Linc thought he would not respond to his question. Finally Flint answered, "Raven is a friend of the Hardcastle twins."
Linc nodded. After a few silent moments he asked, "What about the man she's with?"
"I don't recall ever seeing him in here before."
"I wonder if they're an item," Linc said, glancing up at Flint, wondering if the man knew more than he was actually saying.
Flint stared at him a moment before leaning over the bar and saying, "If you really want to know that, why don't you just walk over there and ask her?"
Linc couldn't help noticing the challenge that flickered in Flint's dark eyes. He returned his stare. "I won't go that far, but I don't see anything wrong with saying hello to an old friend, do you?"
The smile at the corners of Flint's lips widened. "Not if that's what you want to do."
"What the hell, why not? Like I said, there's nothing wrong with saying hello to an old friend," Linc said as he slid off the stool. What he and Raven had shared four years ago was in the past but not forgotten ... at least not on his part. He doubted that he would ever forget their time together. It had been too passionate, too mind-blowing, and too unforgettable.
As he crossed the room toward the couple, who did not notice him approaching, he knew it was not his intent to put Raven on the spot. Nor was it his intent to place her in an uncomfortable situation with the man she may be currently involved with, but there was no way he could leave the club without saying something to her.
And if the man she was with had a problem with it that was just too bad.
"This is a nice place, Raven. Is there any particular reason you brought me here?"
Raven Anderson looked up from studying her menu to meet John Augustan's gaze and couldn't help but smile. His eyes penetrated her as if they could see into her very soul and read her inner thoughts. And she knew they probably could. He hadn't built his publishing company into the huge success that it was by not being able to read people. After working for him for nearly a year, there was no doubt in her mind that he read her loud and clear. But to save time, she decided to cut to the chase.
"I have this wonderful idea for a story that I want to do for the magazine about the revived popularity of supper clubs."
John Augustan lifted a dark brow, looked down at the menu he held in his hand for a minute, then back up at her. Raven knew that in that brief moment he had pondered her idea. The question of the hour was whether or not he was interested enough to go for it. The Black Pearl was an informative magazine that dealt with real issues as well as entertainment news. A little less than two years old, the magazine had garnered a worldwide readership, and John was very selective about the articles that went into it. That was one of the reasons Raven enjoyed working as a reporter for his magazine. It had real class.
She was fully aware that John knew her time with his company was limited. She was a woman on the move, namely, to the top of her profession. But she was realistic enough to know that, in her chosen career, in order to get where she wanted to go, she needed to know all facets of journalism. Her constant goal was to be the best at whatever form of reporting she was involved with. Journalism was her life and she was good at it. Her dream was to one day become a Pulitzer Prize winner. Her mother had had that same dream before she'd let a man rob her of it. Raven was determined not to make the same mistake. Nothing would ever deter her from the one thing she wanted most in life.
John closed his menu. Raven could tell from the look in his eyes that he was interested. "Supper clubs like this one?"
"Yes. I think Leo's would be the perfect place to spotlight. It's the epitome of what a supper club is."
Raven stopped talking when the waiter came to take their order. It was only after the man left that she continued. "For a moment let your mind focus on at least one healthy meal a day, along with a dose of community, and what you'll come up with is Leo's."
"A dose of community?"
Raven smiled. "Yes. A place where several friends or acquaintances meet to share a meal periodically at a very classy nightspot."
"Sounds like a nightclub," John said, taking a sip of the drink he had ordered.
"No, it's something totally different. Even the clientele is different. It's more diverse. A nightclub would appeal to a lot younger age group. Supper clubs normally draw people between the ages of twenty-five and seventy. They're more of a social and dining club for professionals who want to mingle with other professionals."
Raven glanced around before adding, "Elaborate decor, high standards, extremely good food, and live music. It's a place where new friendships are established and important business contacts are made."
"You're also painting a picture of a very intimate atmosphere where romantic relationships can be formed," John casually added, smiling.
"Yes, for some I suppose," Raven said quietly. In truth, there was nothing casual about what John had added. He of all people knew she didn't have a social life that included romance. He also knew that she preferred it that way. Serious involvements had a way of distracting people from their main agenda in life.
It was no secret to those who knew the three Anderson sisters, Falcon, Robin, and Raven, that they shared more than the names of birds. They were also of the same mind that making it to the top of their chosen professions was everything, and things like love and romance were way down low on the totem pole. John had found that out the hard way when he had fallen in love with Falcon Anderson last year.
Although the subject of her oldest sister was something Raven and John always avoided, she couldn't help wondering if he still felt the same way he did when he'd asked Falcon to marry him and move with him to D.C. Falcon had turned him down, choosing her career as a stockbroker in New York over a lifetime with him. Raven had understood her sister's decision. Although John was an extremely handsome man at thirty-five and would be a great catch for any woman, their mother had drummed into her three daughters' heads very early in life not to let any man come between them and their dreams. Their father had convinced Willow Bellamy that she hadn't needed to pursue her dream of becoming a news reporter, so she had dropped out of college and had gotten married instead. Then a couple of years later, he had convinced her that it wasn't important for her to work outside the home because he would always be there to take care of all her needs. But that was before he'd run off with his secretary, leaving his wife and three daughters, all under the age of five, fending for themselves.
"Well, John, what do you think of the idea?" Raven asked, not wanting to think about the hard times her mother and sisters had endured after her father's abandonment.
"Let me think about it. I'm sure you have a proposal ready for me to take a look at."
"Yes," she said, smiling. "It will be on your desk first thing in the morning. I just wanted to bring you here tonight so you can get a feel of the place."
"I'm impressed. How will the owners handle you doing an article on their establishment?"
Raven's face lit up. "They don't have a problem with it. I know two of the owners, Tyrone and Tyrell Hardcastle, personally. They're identical twins. Tyrell dated Robin some years back when the two of them attended the Culinary Institute of America."
"Their father, who's a retired army captain. They named the place after him."
John nodded. "And you're sure they don't have a problem with you hanging around and using this place as the basis of your research?"
"No, in fact I've already cleared it with them. They know I will do a good job with the article. They also know that I —"
Raven stopped talking when she noticed John's gaze shifting from her to an object over her shoulder. She was just about to turn around in her seat to see what had captured his attention when she heard the sound of the rich and painfully sexy voice.
Raven drew in a quick breath. There was no need for her to turn around. It had been over four years, but she would know that voice anywhere. She still heard it from time to time even while she slept. Memories of that voice whispering seductive, inviting, and passionate words in her ears while his body stroked hers into a feverish pitch consumed her and made her feel all hot inside.
She forced herself to blink when Linc moved into her line of vision and stood next to their table. Her mouth opened to form a word of greeting, but nothing came out. She was too shocked, seeing him after all these years when wanting to see him again had once been an ache she couldn't soothe. What they had shared that week had been too special to walk away from, but they had done so anyway.
"Linc," she finally found her voice to say, in a whispered breath. "What are you doing here?"
Raven watched his lips curve into a sensuous smile and felt robbed of her breath yet again. His smile had been the reason she had wanted to get to know him up close and personal when they had first met. If there was such a thing as actually drooling over a man, then she'd drooled profusely the moment Lincoln Corbain had smiled at her that day on the beach in Daytona. He was such a good-looking man, with his towering height well over six feet, broad and muscular shoulders, medium-brown skin, and clean-shaven head. She had never considered a shaven head on a man sexy until she met Linc.
"I moved here last month to take a job with Brown, Gilmore, and Summers as one of their attorneys. And you?" Linc asked.
"I moved here a year ago and began working for Augustan Publishers."
Excerpted from Some Like it Hot by Brenda Jackson. Copyright © 2006 Brenda Jackson. 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
Reading Group Guide
It's less than a week before Sonya Morrison's wedding when she decides to pass her legendary little black book on to her cousin Courtney Andrews along with all of her best wishes. Courtney, who's fast approaching thirty, thinks every woman she knows has somehow met a man who is husband material except for her. So Sonya's little black book seems to be just what she needs. That's until Courtney discovers she and her cousins have completely different tastes when it comes to men.
But just when she is about to give up and toss the infamous little black book into the garbage, when she meets Lake Masters. Eight years her senior, he's a lot older than the men she's normally attracted to, but he's handsome, intelligent, wealthy, and a man who is determined to sweep her off her feet. But the road to love is never easy and Courtney may find taht her little black book is more a curse than a blessing.
1. Do you feel that in the beginning Courtney should have been more supportive of her parents' decision to save their marriage?
2. Knowing the animosity between his wife, ex-wife and daughter, should Joe have brought Suzette to the wedding?
3. When Harper Isaac was arrested, should Courtney have taken her funds to pay for an attorney or do whatever was needed to help get Harper out of the trouble he was in? What about her handling of the other two guys from her little black book? Were her expectations too high?
4. Do you think that Ron really had any intentions of trying to save his marriage?
5. Should Barbara have been so quick to trust her husband again after what he did to her in the past?
6. Could your understand Peggy's reluctance to date again even when a nice guy like Willie Baker came along?
7. How do you feel about Ron taking Ashira to Hawaii with him and Barbara? Should Barbara have suspected something?
8. What do you think of Lake Masters' style of romancing Courtney? Did he move to fast? Too slow?
9. Considering the men in her life, did you understand Courtney's reluctance to take Lake at face value?
10. Considering Ron's health situation, should Barbara have stayed with him in the end? Was informing him of the divorce in the hospital a low blow?