by Naima Simone
Publication Date: August 11, 2015
Synopsis: Billionaire Lucas Oliver is hell bent on revenge. And his plan begins when Sydney Blake—the stunning daughter of his enemy—is tricked into bidding on Lucas at a bachelor auction. Then he serves up a little blackmail...followed by a marriage proposal Sydney has no choice but to accept.Sydney has been controlled by her family her whole life. When Lucas threatens to reveal her father's shady business, she is once again forced to do her duty for her family. But worse—oh so much worse—is the rush of lust that Lucas ignites in her blood. Lucas is determined to make Sydney suffer, but it’s tough when he can’t keep from touching her–or thinking about touching her–all the time. She’s not fairing much better since she’s engaged to a darkly handsome beast intent on destroying her entire family...along with her heart.
“Okay. Go ahead and ask your question,” Sydney murmured.
A corner of Lucas’ mouth quirked. “You say that like you’re about to face a firing squad. Mine is simple. Why have I never seen you wear your hair like this?” He tugged a long spiral once more.
Her gaze dropped to her cup as she dragged her fingers through the curls, self-consciousness in every movement. Maybe not so simple after all. “You’ve known me a handful of weeks.”
“Okay,” he conceded. “Do you wear it like this often?”
“Stop stalling. Why not?”
She heaved a sigh, tipped her chin up. “It’s not a state secret or big deal. The straightened hair is more manageable and more appropriate for many of the events I attend. Less…wild.”
“That seems to be your favorite word,” she muttered around the rim of her coffee mug.
“One of them.”
“Well, if it’s such bullshit, why don’t you tell me the truth?” she asked softy, but he would’ve had to be Helen Keller not to see the glint in her eyes or hear the anger in her murmur.
Edging closer and reclaiming the space he’d placed between them, he regarded her until a flush reddened her cheekbones and her sensual lips parted on a hitch of air.
“I think you’re repeating what you’ve heard from your mother. Not appropriate. Wild. How about unseemly or common?” Something moved behind her unflinching gaze, and if he hadn’t quoted her mother, Charlene Blake, verbatim, then he’d struck close. He pinched a heavy lock between his fingers, rubbed the strands that resembled rough silk. “I understand certain fashions call for certain hairstyles. But the confined ponytails and buns? Those belong to Sydney Blake, the social princess, the beautification committee woman, the silent daughter of Jason Blake. But this?” He lifted the spiral, wove it around his finger. “This belongs to you. The Sydney who volunteers at the youth center. The Sydney who likes to sit on the back porch and stare at the water and distant mountains with a hot cup of coffee. The Sydney who has dreams she hides and believes no one notices. The Sydney who kisses like she invented sex and could make a man come just from having her taste in his mouth.”
The gentle, hungry lap of water against the shore. The faint clatter of the chef finishing their dinner behind the glass doors. And the rough huffs of their breaths.
“I also know why you comply with those dictates, Sydney,” he added, need like a serrated blade over his voice. “You don’t want to be seen. You’re comfortable fading into the background. But I have news for you, sweetheart. You can straighten your hair, wear the latest fashion trends that everyone else has on, sit in the farthest, darkest corner, and you would still be the center of attention. All eyes would still go to you when you enter a room.”
“Luke,” he corrected.
She frowned, thrown off guard. “What?”
“Luke. All my close friends—all being Aiden—call me Luke.”
About Naima Simone
Naima Simone’s love of romance was first stirred by Johanna Lindsey, Sandra Brown and Linda Howard many years ago. Well not that many. She is only eighteen…ish. Though her first attempt at a romance novel starring Ralph Tresvant from New Edition never saw the light of day, her love of romance, reading and writing has endured. Published since 2009, she spends her days—and nights— creating stories of unique men and women who experience the first bites of desire, the dizzying heights of passion, and the tender, healing heat of love.
She is wife to Superman, or his non-Kryptonian, less bullet proof equivalent, and mother to the most awesome kids ever. They all live in perfect, sometimes domestically-challenged bliss in the southern United States.