In relationships, Calisa Harper has clear rules: no expectations, no commitments, no one gets hurt. She doesn’t need a diamond ring to bring her happiness. She just needs Jared. Fine, fit, and ferocious in bed, Jared is Calisa’s ideal combination of friend and lover. But the no-strings status they’ve shared for years is about to get very tangled.
Jared Williams is the kind of man most women long for: sexy, successful, and ready to settle down. He knows convincing the commitment-phobic Calisa that forever is nothing to fear won’t be easy-especially when his ex turns up with a daughter she never told him about. In a heartbeat, Jared and Calisa’s passion goes from fiery to fragile. He wants to hold on to the love they share but is terrified that their next night together could be their last . . .
She heard the click of the door latch behind her, but continued to touch up her make‑up.
“How’s your date?”
Whirling around, she nearly toppled over when she lost her footing. Shocked, she rushed to the door and swung it open, peeking outside. She closed the door and turned to face a smirking Red. “What the hell are you doing?” she hissed. “This is the ladies’ room.”
He shrugged, his hazel eyes raking over her body. “I was just checking on you. You bolted from your table so fast, I thought something was wrong.”
“How is it that, of all the places in the city, we end up at the same restaurant?”
“Coincidence,” he told her. “Holiday party. The firm likes to go all out.”
“Really? Red, it’s not even December yet.”
“They did it early this year,” he explained, brushing a piece of hair behind her ear. “They’re calling it a harvest party.”
“Why didn’t you tell me you were coming here?” She forced a frown onto her face even as her insides were melting at the smell of his cologne.
“Didn’t think I had to. But since you’re here, you could always join me.” He traced the vee on her dress, sending shivers up her spine. “Why don’t you get rid of the stiff and come up to my room?”
Tempted as she was, she wasn’t going out like that. “No,” she breathed, suddenly feeling very . . . hot. “I have a date.”
Slowly, he edged closer to her. She retreated until the hard doorknob dug into her back. Reaching behind her, he flipped the lock on the door, the click echoing in the empty bathroom.
Sucking in a deep breath, she waited, anticipating his next move.
His fingers flitted across the hem of her dress and he inched it up a bit. Kneeling down, he slipped his hands under her dress and slowly pulled down her underwear. She held her breath, wondered what he would do next.
“Step out of them,” he ordered in a low, deep voice.
Bracing her hands on his shoulders, she stepped out of her lace panties. With a smirk, he stood up, tucked the thin material into the inside pocket of his suit jacket, and pulled out a tiny key card. He placed it in her hand and closed her fingers around it. “Room 1179,” he murmured, his lips a mere inch away from hers. Closing her eyes, she took in the smell of cognac on his breath and leaned closer.
His soft laugh brought her mind back to their location and she opened her eyes. She opened her mouth to speak, but he placed a finger over her lips.
“Shh. Try not to think about what I’m going to do to you, while you’re on your date.” Swinging open the door, he walked out, whistling.
She hated him—in the best way.
Born and raised in Southeast Michigan near Ann Arbor, Elle learned the importance of reading from her mother. It was also her mother who, later on in her life, gave Elle her first romance novel: Indigo by Beverly Jenkins. From that moment on, Elle became a fan of Ms. Jenkins for life and a lover of all things romance. An old journal she wrote back in college became her first book (which she still wants to publish one day).