We're finally at the top of the hill that is undoubtedly the hardest work week to get through: the week after the holidays. That's right, it's hump day! And what better way to celebrate surviving half of the week than with an excerpt from a steamy erotic romance? Perfect to go with your second — or fifth, we don't judge — coffee of the day. Today we've got the entire first chapter of Red Garnier's recent release, Obsessed by Him. And hoo boy, it's so hot that by the end you'll be asking, "Polar Vortex, what?" Enjoy!
Graves Buchanan’s balls were up on the poker table, and if he lost this hand, it was going to hurt like hell. He was already a million dollars under, and up on that table, his second million sat nice and tight in a blue-chip stack, right atop the green felt center.
One could argue that two million didn’t even put a dent in his bankroll. For every second that Graves sat on his butt in his friend’s state-of-the-art study, his businesses were racking up a couple of millions more. So no, it sure didn’t put a dent in his bankroll. But it sure as hell hurt his pride.
Yeah, he was already smarting. Big-time.
Especially when he well knew that this pitiful losing streak was all because his concentration had been shit for a whole damned year.
Seated with three of his closest friends on their usual Wednesday poker night, he worked on keeping the mask of indifference on his face while dwelling on the indisputable fact that, with a measly pair of jacks, he was going to have to bluff his way to a winning hand.
He surveyed his opponents’ faces. Tonight he played with his best friend, Daniel Lexington, who leaned back in his chair, cool as a cucumber in a pair of Ray-Bans. Then there was Cade West, who was one pissed-off motherfucker. Guess you just didn’t bury your young wife two months after the wedding and have nothing to show for it. And of course, there was Luke Preston, the incorrigible playboy, who couldn’t keep his mouth shut to save his worthless life.
“Well, well, now, I’ve got some game here. Woohoo. Hold on to your pants, boys. I’m out for the big momma tonight and going all in.” Luke pushed all his chips into the center, and while Graves’s brain immediately began calculating how much he was going to lose if he called it, the shiny steel door to Daniel’s massive public library–sized study cracked open a notch.
“Danny?” a female voice asked.
Graves’s entire body went rigid as he recognized the speaker. Suddenly, a cluster of strange, complicated feelings rolled around inside his chest and all the blood started rushing to his groin. It was a miracle he managed to maintain his impassive expression, because every tiny nerve and cell and atom in his body came alive with a roar.
“Yeah, Chlo, come on in.” Daniel waved his younger sister in, and Graves’s windpipe clamped shut as he watched her approach. Holy Mother of God, this girl was going to kill him.
Chloe Lexington had grown up to be the hottest hottie he had ever laid eyes upon. She was slender, light, and delectable, with a dimple on her chin and a wide, sensual mouth, and big green eyes that gutted you. Her curves were in all the right places, curves a guy’s hands would itch to mold and hold and play with.
She wore her straight, lustrous blond hair at an illegal length now, and Graves had noticed a couple of days ago that the longest tips teased the top of her fanny when she walked. And what a perfect fanny, oh man. Graves had fantasized about Chloe’s delectable rear in ways he had no business fantasizing about it—but he just couldn’t get over those perky rounded cheeks, held up in the air by a pair of angels.
Tonight she wore a simple black strapless dress that made his mouth water inexplicably. Graves could take the rest of the night surveying her perfect figure and not want for anything else, but instead he tore his eyes away before both Daniel and Chloe noticed the giant erection growing in his lap, even if he was shielded by the table.
A monster hard-on right now was not what he’d consider good news.
Graves was a bad, bad boy with his hard-ons, and the kind of shit he liked to do with them wouldn’t sit well with a nice girl like Chloe. Much less with her brother—who was known to do even worse things with his hard-ons.
Daniel Lexington’s motto of “No pain, no gain” extended far beyond the gym, they all knew.
“Hey, Chlo, get over here and let me have a good look at you. Let me give that rump a nice little pat, woman,” Luke purred, waving her over.
“Lay off, Luke,” Daniel growled.
Luke laughed. “Relax, man. She’s your sister. Even I have my limits—plus you know I like my sex rowdy.”
“You’d fuck your own mother if it’d get you off,” Daniel replied.
Chloe was being a good sport about it though, coming forward with a seductive sway of her hips and sparkling green eyes. “Eat your heart out, Luke,” she said, ruffling his blond hair. Then her smile faded and her eyes slid along the table until they stopped at Graves. “Hey guys.… Hi, Graves.” The merriment had fled from her face, and her voice dropped a decibel when she spoke his name.
Fuck me. It did all kinds of things to him, to meet those green eyes and think of Colorado forests, to hear her say his name in that seductive murmur. Her voice was fluffy like marshmallows, and it made Graves feel like the freaking s’more being burnt on both ends and crushed in the middle.
His pants strained painfully under the table and his chest cramped in ways he absolutely loathed. “Hey, Chlo,” he said, and flicked his eyes back to his measly pair of jacks.
“Are you losing again?” she asked. “Danny said you were on a bad streak lately.”
She slid over to him and bent down to see his cards, and Graves knew that very second, he was fucked. The guys would look at her face, see that little O forming on her mouth, and know that Graves had shit. But he still sat there and let it all happen. Because her minty scent teased his nostrils and tortured his senses.
Strands of honeyed hair fell to his shoulders as she bent to take a closer peek, and then she turned her head so that he could see every golden speck in her lovely eyes. Her stare was full of amusement and pity, clearly saying, You are so screwed, Graves.
Yeah, but she didn’t even know the half of it.
Because Daniel was his best friend, and Graves was crazy sick in love with his little sister.
Fuck me. How did this happen? Graves was a foster kid from a bad family. He barely even liked to be touched. Chloe was a pampered girl with loving parents who expected the world to kiss her feet and her boyfriends to do the same. Graves might feel like he lived to see those megawatt smiles of hers, but the truth was, he had no fucking idea how to love anyone, much less a princess like Chloe.
It was just better to put a cork on that emotion.
Except for the fact that lately he felt like he was going to burst apart.