NY Times, USA Today & Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author
One grumpy billionaire.
One sassy-sweet supermodel.
Add in a tropical private island paradise.
What could go wrong?
As owner and CEO of Dirty Dare Spirits, thirty-three year old, Asher Dare has it all. Money. Power. Women whenever he wants. A private island retreat when he doesn’t. People he trusts? He can count those on one hand. When one of his best friends asks a favor—hide his twenty-one year old, supermodel sister, on the island until a scandal blows over—Asher can’t say no. But he doesn’t have to like it.
Model, Nicolette Bettencourt always acts with decorum. Yet through no fault of her own, scandal seems to follow her every move. When nude photos surface, the uproar puts her family business at risk. And forces her into hiding with Asher, the hottest—and grumpiest—billionaire she’s ever met.
Under soothing tropical breezes, Asher discovers that Nicolette is nothing like the spoiled brat portrayed in the tabloids. She’s warm, sexy, and a temptation Asher must resist at all costs—or he risks betraying his closest friend, bringing a powerful political dynasty to its knees… and losing the woman he loves.
As this book opens Nicolette ‘Nikki’ Bettencourt finds her privacy has been violated in the worst possible way. Photos of her sleeping, her own bed, are all over the internet. Even worse her mother and father are less than supportive more concerned with her father’s career. Her brother Derek is the one who steps up to get her away and out of the spotlight. He calls his friend Asher and asks him to take her to his island retreat. Asher Dare is the only one Derek would trust to keep his sister safe, and the island is secure.
Asher isn’t going to turn his friend down, but he isn’t so sure Nikki is as innocent as Derek claims. Too many incidents over the years she claims she knew nothing about. He knows he’s in trouble when he sees her at the airport. It’s been years since he’s seen her in person, and she’s grown into a gorgeous woman. He would have to remember not only their age gap but also the trust Derek has in him.
On the flight, Nikki tries to get to know Asher a bit and he discovers that she’s a lot smarter than he thought she would be. He does stop the questioning at bit rudely stating he has to work. As a result, she pretends to sleep for the rest of the flight.
Once on the island, she’s determined to relax and try to ignore her attraction to Asher. She heads to the beach, unaware that Asher is having trouble keeping his attention off her as well. To the point he gives up and joins her on the beach.
This is a favorite scene.
He didn’t know her well, but she was more than his preconceived notions based on another woman from another time in his life. Even his stubborn, arrogant ass could admit that.
“Come on, join me!” Nikki called, waving an arm to get his attention as she drifted toward deeper waters.
More at ease now that his attention had drifted off her soft skin and ripe curves, but uncomfortable with how far out she was floating, he rose. Pulling off his shirt and tossing it on the chair, he strode down to the ocean, wading in to get close to Nikki.
“It’s warm!” Her head bobbed above the water, but he was relieved to realize her feet were still on the floor, letting him relax.
He drifted closer and she splashed him, the flying droplets hitting him in the face. He sputtered and rubbed his eyes to relieve the sting of the salt.
“Oops!” Her green eyes twinkled as she laughed. He shook his head and surprised himself by splashing her back. A water fight ensued and even his head ended up soaking wet. He ducked under and came up laughing, shocking the shit out of him. When was the last time he’d played, let alone had fun? Even his recent trip to Vegas with the guys had been more about watching than actually indulging in anything more than a drink or two.
He glanced at the cause of his un-Asher-like behavior. Nikki stood in the water, catching her breath, a big smile on her face. Her hair was slicked back, making her green eyes even more prominent against her olive skin.
God, she was gorgeous. Against his better judgment, and contrary to his plans and the promises he’d made, his cock once again reminded him he desired this free-spirited girl. And that was the thought that stopped him. Not just his promise to her brother, though that was a huge consideration, but she was too damned young. Talk about a scandal waiting to happen.
But dammit, she made him feel young and alive. Not that thirty-three was old, for Christ’s sake, but he still had twelve years on her.
“That was fun.” She took a few steps back and bobbed in the water.
He ran his hand through his hair and nodded. “Yeah, it was,” he said, unwilling to burst her happy bubble. She had too much worry on her shoulders and deserved to forget her troubles. But it was time for him to rebuild some walls.
“I’m going to go back–” He was cut off by the sound of Nikki’s scream and he rushed up to her. “What’s wrong?”
She looked at him with wide eyes, frantically waving her hands. “I think I was stung on my leg. I want to feel for it but I’m scared what I’ll find.”
“Don’t touch,” he instructed. “It’s probably from a jellyfish.” And if so, there was every chance she still had tentacles in her leg. Not that he’d tell her that yet.
Her eyes opened wide. “Please don’t say you have to pee on me,” she muttered.
He felt his lips lift. “No. That’s an old wives’ tale. Come on.” He bent down, picked her up, and carried her out of the water. “I’m going to bring you inside. We’ll take a look at it then.”
She wrapped her arms around his neck and rested her head against his chest. Trusting him. He wondered how she’d feel knowing he found her soft sighs and curvy body, cold from the water and trembling against his chest, too damned arousing.
He began the walk back to the house when Corey came rushing toward them. “What’s wrong?” the other man asked.
“Nikki was stung by a jellyfish.”
At Asher’s words, her grip around his neck tightened.
“I’ll go grab the first-aid kit from the shed,” Corey said.
“No. I’ll take her inside.” Although first aid was part of Corey’s job, Asher didn’t want the other man’s hands anywhere near Nikki’s skin.
Corey lifted both arms, palms out, in a sign of hands-off. He obviously got the message.
Knowing that the pain of a sting could be excruciating, Asher made a beeline for his bathroom, where he had a kit beneath the vanity.
Carly Phillips. Just One Taste (Kindle Locations 616-650). CP Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Nikki and Asher find themselves getting closer and while Asher may have some reservations by the time his family arrives for their anniversary celebration, they are more than just friends. She even gets him to bring home a stray dog she couldn’t leave behind at a beach.
The time on the island has Nikki making decisions about a career change and Asher thinking of a long-term relationship.
Of course, the Dare family is instrumental in helping solve the mystery of the photos taken of her and also opens the door for at the very least a job interview.
In spite of the seriousness of why Nikki’s on the island, this book is fun, flirty, romantic, and sizzling.
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.