NY Times Bestselling Author
A one night stand with no names exchanged.
Four years later, she comes face to face with her baby’s father again.
Aurora Michaels isn’t the same girl she was that spring night. No longer homeless and living in the back room of a diner where she worked, she’s now a member of the wealthy Kingston family. She has her daughter, a career and has adjusted to her new normal.
Billionaire Nick Dare is a man who takes charge. He runs the hotel arm of the family empire and his life revolves around business and travel. A quick stop at his brother’s movie premier has him doing a double take.
The woman who haunts his dreams is there. He’s been given a second chance and is determined to make the most of it.
When he learns about their daughter, Nick becomes a man on a mission. Aurora and their child are his. Even if he has to knock down Aurora’s emotional walls to prove it.
This book opens as Aurora is getting ready to attend the premiere of the film acquired by K-Talent Productions starring Sasha Keaton her sister-in-law, and Harrison Dare. Her sister-in-law Cassidy Kingston is the director. There’s already Oscar buzz about it.
This is fun to watch as her daughter Leah tries to get involved. She’s such an active little girl and dress-up is lots of fun.
As she’s waiting to head to the seats with her family, she spots Harrison Dare with his brothers. Harrison calls them ‘The Dirty Dares’. When one of them turns and looks at her, she loses it and runs to the ladies room. Her one-night stand with no last names is Nick Dare, he’s Leah’s father.
When Nick sees Aurora he’s not letting her get away again. Unfortunately they don’t have time to talk and there’s a lot to talk about. Beginning with how she’s related to the Kingston’s. Was everything she told him years ago a lie?
Things get a bit crazy since Cassidy goes into labor, but the family stays for the film and took off quickly to the hospital afterwards. Not to be distracted from his goal, Nick gets Aurora’s address from Harrison via Xander.
When Nick shows up the next morning, he gets a couple of surprises. One is welcome, the other is not.
This is a favorite scene.
A little while later, dressed in a pair of oversized sweatpants she’d stolen from Dash, rolled down at the waist, and a top she hadn’t realized had shrunk in the wash, she made her way downstairs. If Leah hadn’t already been calling “Mommy,” Aurora would have changed shirts but her munchkin was hungry, and that always took precedence…unless she wanted to hear, I’m starving, over and over again.
Aurora set all the ingredients on the counter. Leah was mixing the batter, doing her best to slop the mix over the sides, or at least that was the way it looked. Aurora resigned herself to a good, long cleaning of the counters.
“That looks finished. Come wash your hands.”
Leah bounced over to the sink and stood on the stool that let her reach the faucet more easily. Once her hands were washed and dried, Aurora grabbed her mug, and poured herself a cup of coffee. A little caffeine always helped her get the day started.
As Aurora went to take a sip of her coffee, Leah asked, “Did you meet the prince last night, mommy?”
At the question, Aurora all but spat the liquid out of her mouth. Before she could answer—not that she had a reply, because what could she call Nick—the doorbell rang.
“I’ve got it!” Leah yelled and disappeared through the kitchen entryway.
“Leah do not open that door!” Aurora yelled, just as the beep beep from the unset alarm signaled her daughter had done just that. The beeps were meant to let Aurora know if anyone entered or exited the house without her knowledge.
She ran, skidding to a halt at the open door where Leah stood facing Nick. “Hi, Mister. You’re a stranger. I’m not allowed to talk to you,” she said, then shut the door in his face.
NICK STARED AT the shut door in shock. A little girl had answered. He pulled out his phone and checked the text from Harrison again, comparing the number on the house to the address on the screen. It matched.
He was still confused as shit when the door opened again, only this time Aurora stood in the entrance. Her cheeks were flushed and her hair was tousled. After-sex hair, as if a man’s fingers had spent hours messing up the long strands. Nick’s stomach churned at the possibility that there might be a guy inside—a father to that adorable girl, and maybe even a husband to Aurora.
“Nick, what are you doing here?” she asked, her voice strained.
“I asked Harrison to get your address from Xander.”
She closed her eyes and shook her head but didn’t say a word. The little girl had disappeared.
“I thought we could talk,” he told her.
She narrowed her gaze, her hand still on the door. “You said you’d call.”
“I couldn’t wait. And to be honest, I didn’t trust you not to blow me off. Not after the way you ran from me last night.” He decided to go for honesty, because she looked ready to follow her daughter’s lead and slam the door in his face. “I didn’t want to lose touch with you again.”
“Mommy, you said you’d make pancakes!” The voice who’d called him a stranger shouted, this time much louder.
“Come in,” Aurora said, obviously resigned.
What the hell? Was it that bad to see him again? He followed her inside and she closed and locked the door behind him. “Leah has a bad habit of answering the door without me being there. I’m trying to break it, but she’s strong-willed.”
“Like her mother?” He really wanted to know about the little girl’s father but couldn’t figure out how to ask.
Aurora stared at him, a wealth of emotion in her eyes. He had no idea what was going on.
Footsteps stomped towards them and the child stopped next to Aurora, tugging on her too-large sweatpants. Men’s sweat pants, Nick thought, and his stomach cramped even harder.
Her top, however, was another story. It was short and tight, allowing a strip of skin to show above the drawstring of the pants.
“Mommy, pancakes please!”
Nick got his first real look at her daughter. Blonde hair like Aurora’s, a little curlier and more out of control, framed her tiny face. Her features were delicate and she was adorable. And her eyes—
His breath left him in a rush as he took in those indigo orbs so common in every branch of the Dare family. “How…how old is she?” he managed to ask.
Aurora had gone pale. “She’s five,” she whispered.
Nick didn’t need to do the math. No wonder Harrison had asked him how long it had been since that summer in Miami Beach. His brother worked with the Kingstons. No doubt he’d met Aurora and her daughter. But without the knowledge that she’d been with Nick, the color of the little girl’s eyes could be chalked up to coincidence. Until Nick’s reveal last night.
“Why’d you let the stranger inside, mommy? Didn’t you tell me about stranger danger?” Leah asked.
Nick bit the inside of his cheek. The kid was a spitfire.
“He’s not a stranger, honey. Mommy knows him from when I used to live in Florida.” Aurora held his gaze as she spoke, until he felt the child staring at him and he dropped his eyes to look at her.
“What’s your name?” she asked him.
“I’m Nick. What’s yours?” He was surprised he could speak, considering how dry his mouth had become.
“I’m Leah. Do you want pancakes? Mommy, please, you promised and the batter’s ready.”
He glanced over and Aurora gave him a little nod.
“I’d love to have pancakes,” Nick said to his daughter.
His daughter. Holy shit.
Carly Phillips. Just One Dare (Kindle Locations 388-437). CP Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Nick knows beyond the shadow of a doubt Leah’s his daughter. Now he just has to win over her mother and make them a family.
There is a little problem with Aurora’s neighbor though. He’s a single father that seems to have his eye on Aurora.
Plenty of ups and downs, with fun and sensuous moments as well.
I can’t wait for the next book, but first I need to go back and get Just One Wish!
5 Contented Purrs for Carly!
Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!
Carly Phillips is the N.Y. Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of over 50 sexy contemporary romance novels featuring hot men, strong women and the emotionally compelling stories her readers have come to expect and love.
Carly’s career spans over a decade and a half with various New York publishing houses, and she is now an Indie author who runs her own business and loves every exciting minute of her publishing journey. Carly is happily married to her college sweetheart, the mother of two nearly adult daughters and three crazy dogs (two wheaten terriers and one mutant Havanese) who star on her Facebook Fan Page and website. Carly loves social media and is always around to interact with her readers.