NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Being a bachelor has its perks.
It also has its downside.
Just ask Derek Bettencourt.
Standing on stage and being auctioned off in the name of charity is awkward AF… until Derek’s business partner’s younger sister wins him for the weekend. He’s all hers to do with as she pleases and he can’t say he’s unhappy with the prospect. Especially since she saved him from an ex-fiancée determined to get her claws into him again.
Jessica Cavanaugh never intended to bid on her lifetime crush. But her spur-of-the-moment decision gives her a chance to exact a bit of playful payback, for old-time’s sake. And Derek is all too happy to indulge Jessica’s whims.
What starts as a fun, flirty, game, with Derek acting as her personal handyman, quickly turns into a steamy and forbidden weekend. Lines are crossed that they never intended and emotions unravel their playful facades. Afterward, he can’t get the gorgeous, full-figured woman out of his head and he’s determined to make her his.
But how can they concentrate on a future when someone is threatened by their relationship and will do anything to come between them?
Derek’s sister Nikki convinced him to participate in this bachelor auction for Aurora Dare’s Charity. He’s feeling very awkward and really wished his business partner was here as well. Ben lucked out by being on a business trip this week.
Jessica Cavanaugh is surveying the poster featuring the twelve men up for auction tonight. Her best friend Avery joins her wondering if she has anyone in particular in mind to bid on. Then she suggests winning Derek Bettencourt and having him do some of the work she needs done on her new house. Jessica’s had a crush on him forever, and she sort of owes him one for something that happened a long time ago. She really isn’t considering it until she hears his ex-fiancée Claire Sutherland in the restroom plotting to take him as her plus one to their class reunion.
When the auction starts up, it’s clear Claire has one goal in mind, win Derek’s three days. Unfortunately for her, someone can afford far more money for that time.
This is a favorite scene.
Jessica had sworn she wasn’t going to bid on a man at the bachelor auction, and especially not on Derek, and she’d meant those words at the time. But after a few glasses of champagne and Claire’s rude comments still swirling in her mind, topped off by that smug look her nemesis gave Derek when she placed her outrageously high opening bid, certain no one would provide competition, Jessica was tempted to do something a little rebellious and prove to that bitch she couldn’t have everything she wanted.
But none of those things were what changed Jessica’s mind. It was the panicked look that flashed across Derek’s features. A feeling she knew all too well— being cornered by someone you didn’t like, with no escape. Of being forced to do something you dreaded. And clearly, Derek did not want to spend a weekend with his ex-fiancée.
“Seventy-five thousand!” Jessica blurted out, startling even herself. But once the words were spoken, she knew she was in it to win the auction and Derek. There was no backing out now.
The women around her gasped in shock. Up on the stage, Derek’s brows rose in surprise at her— clearly, he hadn’t expected any other bids and certainly not from her— and when Jessica dared to glance at Claire, the other woman’s glare was sharp as daggers.
Jessica held back a grin. Yeah, payback was a bitch sometimes, and just the thought of Claire going to the reunion without the man she’d added as her plus-one, for the sole purpose of flaunting him to her friends, was going to be sweet, indeed.
“Eighty thousand!” Claire shouted at the auctioneer, her tone on the verge of being desperate.
“One hundred thousand,” Jessica countered calmly, smiling and keeping her eyes on Derek, who appeared both grateful and amused by her decision to bid on him.
She could keep topping Claire’s amount all night long. She had a ridiculous trust fund from her grandparents she rarely touched, the money would go to a good cause, and for once she actually had the upper hand over Claire, and she couldn’t deny that leverage felt amazing.
Tonight, Claire was going to learn that just because she desired something, it didn’t mean it was just going to fall into her lap.
“Holy shit,” Avery whispered gleefully. “Claire looks like she’s going to have a coronary.”
Jessica casually sipped from her champagne flute, refusing to look at the other woman, but she could only imagine how much she was fuming.
“One hundred twenty-five thousand dollars,” Claire said, the words sounding as though they’d been spoken through gritted teeth.
Another round of gasps echoed in the ballroom, and everyone glanced expectantly at Jessica, waiting to see if she raised the bid or folded.
Again, very calmly, like she had all the time and money in the world, she said, “One hundred fifty thousand dollars.”
It was an insane amount of money— insane enough that Claire must have realized Jessica wasn’t going to back down or opt out, because the ballroom went quiet as the auctioneer did his going once, going twice, going three times spiel. When no one countered, he slammed his gavel down and gestured toward where Jessica stood in front of the stage.
“Derek Bettencourt, sold to the beautiful woman in the black dress,” the gentleman in the tuxedo said jovially. “Thank you for your very generous donation. You can meet your bachelor over in the greeting area just outside the ballroom.”
“Oh, my God, Claire just stormed off and she looks pissed,” Avery said, keeping Jessica apprised of their nemesis’s whereabouts. “I wonder if this is the first time something hasn’t gone her way.”
“Probably.” The two of them headed toward the double doors leading out of the ballroom. “I doubt she’s familiar with any form of humiliation, so I’m sure this loss knocked her off her game.”
Avery snickered. “Ahh, it really is true what they say about revenge being sweet.”
Carly Phillips. Just-a-Little-H-Carly-Phillips (Kindle Locations 270-300). Kindle Edition.
Now that Jessica has Derek for a three-day weekend, she plots the things around her new home for Derek to do. It would be fun watching him sweat and labor for her.
Derek of course has no idea what she has planned until she finally lets him in on it. Then he does the dumbest thing ever!
I love the way this story progresses as Jessica and Derek are attracted to each other.
I couldn’t put this book down, I laughed so much, cried a little and the romance and sizzle were perfect!
5 Contented Purrs for Carly and Ericka!
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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.
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Erika Wilde (aka Janelle Denison) is the USA Today bestselling author of over 50 contemporary romances for multiple print publishers.
So, why the new pen name?
As Janelle Denison I’ve always written sexy books, but lately my writing has taken on more erotic elements that I wanted to keep separate for readers because not everyone likes their reading material on the spicier, kinkier side of romance. However, please be assured that even as Erika Wilde, you will still get an emotionally layered story with characters you’ll care about and fall in love with. That is always my goal, whether I’m writing straight contemporary romances, or more erotically charged stories.
Currently, I’m working on The Marriage Diaries and making sure that Dean and Jillian enjoy exploring the more erotic side to their marriage. The series will be on-going, with no foreseeable ending as of right now, for as long as readers want to be voyeurs to Dean and Jillian’s sizzling new relationship.
I’m also planning a spin-off series in the future, featuring the hot military men that work security for Dean at Noble and Associates.