USA Today Bestselling Author
It was supposed to be one fun night of hot sex.
It turned into a second. Then a third.
Now Mother Nature is having the last word—
with a secret baby surprise!
Jade Dare has done everything in her power to overcome her mother’s unstable influence. Changed her name. Became a success. Vowed never to risk passing on the potential for inherited pain. What has it gotten her? One fiancé who wanted her for money. A second who cheated on her with his brother’s wife.
Now she’s sworn off men. Or at least off serious relationships. But when the chance to indulge in a one night stand with a man she’s secretly fantasized about arrives, she jumps in. Only to land heart-first into a case of the feels she can’t bring herself to trust.
Knox Sinclair always suspected he liked his brother’s fiancé a little too much, that’s why he kept his hands to himself. But with ties broken and Jade all too willing, a no-strings-attached night sounds like a damned good idea.
Except one night isn’t nearly enough. But while Knox is busy convincing Jade they have a chance at forever, the past is planning one last parting shot.
Jade Dare and Knox Sinclair have an unusual past, her fiancé had an affair with his wife. Now Knox’s sister Holly is getting married, and she thinks her brother and Jade would make the perfect couple.
Knox accompanies his sister to A Bridal and Wedding Expo where Jade as event coordinator at the Meridian Hotel is manning a booth. Holly wants the Meridian as her venue, so they end up browsing brochures until Jade frees up. At that point Holly puts forth a dinner to discuss things. We all know this is a set up.
After Holly leaves them Knox brings up the past, something they’ve never really discussed.
This is a favorite scene.
“Theo can be charming—I’m sure that’s the man you first met.” Knox paused, gathering his thoughts. “But deep down, he’s an insecure little boy.” He leaned his elbows on the table and steepled his fingers. He’d given this question a lot of thought. “From the day Theo’s mother married my father and they moved into our house, Theo was jealous of me. If something didn’t come easily, he looked for someone else to blame. Very often, he chose me. That was ironic because sports were more his thing than mine, at least back then.”
Jade blotted those sexy lips with her napkin and placed it on the table. “I’ve seen him in action,” she murmured. “When he had a bad game, he’d blame everyone else—his teammates, the coaches… even a fan once.” She shook her head. “He always had excuses, never taking accountability for anything he did.”
She tipped her head to the side, her eyes unfocused, as if remembering. “I remember the time the coach benched him for a whole period. He’d missed a save and blamed it on the defenseman screening him so he couldn’t see the puck. Theo had been livid. Then again, so was the coach.” She cleared her throat. “It became my job to soothe his anger so he didn’t lose his position on the team.”
Knox recalled that moment. Rumors were that the owner was thinking of sending Theo down to the farm team for a while, until his attitude improved.
Theo couldn’t risk that. He’d told Knox that Jade Dare made him appear important. His engagement to her would make him look like a man willing to commit, on and off the ice, making changes the team’s management would approve of. Jade brought him respectability with her family name.
Knox grimaced, remembering. Far be it for his brother to actually put in the work to make himself respectable. He looked up at the woman sitting beside him. Jade had obviously fallen for Theo, unaware of his true nature.
“It sucks that you had to deal with his behavior. Theo is a piece of work,” Knox admitted. “He thinks things come easily to me. And yes, I worked for the team out of business school, and when Dad died, I inherited it. But I inherited a team that hadn’t made the post-season in years. I’ve worked hard to build a championship organization.” He shook his head in disgust, thinking of his brother. “It’s always been a constant argument with him about how life is unfair. The less often I see Theo, the better.”
Her features grew soft with understanding. “And your wife? I mean ex-wife?”
He raised an eyebrow. Jade was digging deep, but then, he’d done the same. “Celia was different when we married. My dad had just passed away and I was in a bad way. She was there. But once she was exposed to having a lot of money, she changed. She wanted more. I tried to be available to her despite how busy I was between taking over the team and settling my father’s estate. No amount of time together ever satisfied her. She wanted to be my focus all the time.”
Jade twisted her lips. “It doesn’t seem like she went about getting your attention in the best way—not if she wanted to keep you as her husband.”
He rolled his eyes. “Yeah, well, that ship has sailed.”
If Celia hadn’t cheated, Knox would never have considered ending the marriage. He’d seen how his parents’ divorce had hurt his father, and his dad had raised him alone until Theo and Holly’s mother came along. Knox had been determined to make his marriage work, but infidelity was something he just couldn’t overlook. It helped that, by the end, his heart hadn’t been engaged for a long time.
He studied the woman beside him. She ran her finger over the rim of her water glass, deep in thought.
“What about you?” Knox asked. “Are you over Theo?”
She lifted her gaze, her eyes locking on his. “Are you kidding? I was over him the day I found out.”
He leveled her with a knowing stare.
“Okay, fine.” She held up both hands in submission. “It took a long time to get over the hurt, but I really believe it was the pain of being duped and cheated on that stayed with me. Not to mention, it reinforced the fact that I don’t trust my judgment when it comes to people. Especially men.”
He winced at her admission but she obviously believed it was the truth.
“Anyway, once again, my brother came to the rescue. Zach assured me that I’d dodged a bullet. And that, in short, is why I am on an official man fast.”
Knox jumped on her statement. “What’s a man fast?”
“I’ve decided that there’s no place for a man in my life. I’m done with relationships.”
“After what you’ve been through, I can understand that. And honestly, I can relate, too.” But he was attracted to her.
She had an outgoing personality, which was always a turn-on for him, a curvy body he longed to touch with his hands and his mouth, and full lips he was dying to kiss.
“Jade,” he said in a gruff voice meant to let her know things between them had taken a more sensual turn.
“Yes?” Her eyes were open wide.
“I’m not looking for a relationship, either.” He picked up her hand and settled his thumb on the rapidly beating pulse in her wrist. “But I do want you.”
Her lips parted and a small puff of air escaped. “But my man fast…” She said the words without any heat behind them.
He grinned. “Change the definition. You’re now purging relationships from your life. That leaves wiggle room for many, many other things.”
She widened her gaze, her eyes dancing with delight. “It does, doesn’t it?”
Carly Phillips. Just One Kiss (Kindle Locations 439-485). CP Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Things between Knox and Jade heat up very quickly and neither of them can resist the pull.
Around them more their attraction draws some unwanted attention. Jade’s ex Theo starts calling Jade and she ignores his calls. Knox’s ex Celia shows up at his apartment and he puts her in her place. These things add some intrigue and drama to this budding relationship that they’re not calling a relationship.
I laughed, cried, and held my breath as this story unfolds.
5 Contented Purrs for Carly!
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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.