Read An Excerpt
Multicultural, Romantic Suspense
Oh God, it was him.
Flushing hot enough to ignite her own eyebrows, she slowly glanced up.
Towering over her stood six and a half feet of masculine perfection and irritation, a man so unspeakably virile he’d make Zena and her band of Amazons look like petite size zeroes.
Thunderstruck, Amara stared like an idiot, her mouth hanging open.
This was the closest she’d ever been to him and she almost needed a shield or lead blanket to deflect some of his unholy chemical effect on her. Things had been bad enough from a distance, but now she could smell him, too, and oh, what a thrill that was. Sandalwood, spices, and the fresh, healthy musk of a man who spent hours over steamy pots and pans. Just his scent alone was enough to peak her nipples and get the honey flowing between her thighs, but she still had to assimilate the face and the body.
Like that was possible.
The body was something she’d fantasize about for years to come. A pristine white T-shirt—how did he keep it so white, working in a kitchen?—stretched across broad, square shoulders and a rippling slab of chest and abdomen. One of those starchy chef’s aprons, the kind Martha Stewart wore, had been folded down and tied around his narrow hips.
He had light brown skin and haywire curls the same sandy color. The brows, though, were dark and moody. So were the flashing eyes, which right now were expressing something fierce, like his fierce desire to dump the bowl of noodles on her head.
His five o’ clock shadow had gone to seed a week or so ago, but that only added to his attractiveness, his air of surly attitude teetering on the edge of outright dangerousness.
Looking at him gave Amara the kind of violent visceral response she’d never in her life had for anyone else. She wanted him. Had fantasized about his tongue in her mouth and her legs around his waist. Would love to have his scent and stubble marks all over her skin. Needed the slow, deep thrust of his body inside hers.
And then she needed it again. And again.
If he smiled or crooked his finger at her, she, Amara Clark–defense attorney extraordinaire and fiercely independent woman who prided herself on never needing anyone, didn’t believe in casual sex and hadn’t had a date in three years or sex in four–would probably follow him into the back room, or the bathroom, or his car, or the nearest hotel, and let him do whatever he damn well wanted to do with her.
Yeah, she wanted him that much.
Their gazes locked and the cook looked her in the eye for only the second or third time ever. His dark brown gaze, so frigid it would no doubt cure the global warming problem if only someone would provide his transport to the Arctic, raked over her face and, in that those fleeting milliseconds, one thing was perfectly, brutally clear:
He hated her.
He believed she was a snotty bitch who thought he was a peon well beneath her notice, and he despised her for it. There was no aspect of her that he liked; probably even the buttons down the front of her dress offended him. She had no hope of redemption against such absolute loathing, no possibility of him ever finding anything whatsoever worthwhile about her.
So it was no surprise when he slammed her precious bowl back on the table, turned his broad back on Amara and spoke to Katie.
“Who’s the chocolate bunny?” He jerked his head in Amara’s direction. “You should teach her some manners.”
Oh, man. He was blessed with a naturally low, deep, and sexy voice, the kind of voice that would keep a woman up all night with a vibrator in one hand and the receiver in the other if he worked for one of those phone sex hotlines.
Katie didn’t miss a beat, smiling up at him with Nancy Reagan-esque adoration. “Amara can’t be taught. But I’m happy to be your bunny if you, you know, need one in vanilla.”
He grinned at Katie and Amara seethed with something ugly, almost like jealousy, but then his words registered with her brain. That was a compliment, right? Chocolate bunny? It was also a condescending endearment offensive to anyone with a pair of ovaries, and of course she hated it on principle, but … did that mean she’d caught his eye?
“Where’s Judy?” Katie wondered, referring to their waitress.
“Went home sick,” Jack told her, still favoring her with the brilliance of his smile.
Amara tried to recapture his attention. “I—I’m sorry.”
He glanced over at Amara, his jaw tightening.
“I just … I’m really hungry and the noodles are really good, so–”
The irritation vanished and he faced her, one corner of his incredible mouth creeping up into the wicked half-smile of a man with one thing on his mind, and it wasn’t food. To her utter astonishment, he gave her a pointed and assessing once-over, nearly searing the bodice of her dress off her body with the intensity of his gaze.
That look was about the rudest thing she’d ever experienced in her life.
It was also the sexiest.
“Why didn’t you say so, Bunny?” he murmured. “I made the noodles. And I’m happy to let you taste anything of mine whenever you want.”