Genres: Contemporary, New Adult
A new, sensual Adult Contemporary Romance from author of the Amazon bestselling PRESERVATION SERIES, THE REPLACEMENT, and LOVE AND RELATIVITY. Coming to e-readers everywhere May 26, 2014.
It’s not water that paralyzes Anya Banks—it’s the ocean. Tumultuous and powerful, sleek and unpredictable, it’s just like Tanner Christensen, owner of Trident Voyager, the cruise ship she’s been talked into boarding by her vivacious, foodie fanatic best friend and co-worker, Lana. Tanner exudes confidence, and his raw masculinity is hard to resist. But Anya came aboard to work, face her demons, and then get the hell back to dry land.
Until Tanner convinces her to take the plunge.
She quickly dives into a fun, carefree arrangement with him and embraces her goal to be brave, no matter how loudly her shaky knees tell her to abandon ship. For twelve days, Tanner’s all hers. For twelve days, she’s his goddess. Once the cruise is over and the ship docks, she won’t be the same. But being brave always costs something, and this time, it might cost her heart.
I don’t make it far down the hall before a voice approaches me from behind. Not just any voice. A smooth, charming, and very calculating voice. “How are you this evening, Miss Banks?” Tanner asks, coming up on my heels. “You’re looking lovely.”
“As are you, Mr. Christensen. What are you doing around these parts tonight?”
“Just doing my rounds.” He’s cool and indifferent, but when he sizes me up in a sly side glance, he gives himself away. “Please, allow me to escort you to your date.” He steps next to me, meeting my stride, and lowers his arm to my back, guiding me forward.
“I don’t think that’s necessary, Mr. Christensen. Thank you, though.”
“I would hate to see a beautiful woman such as you arrive without a man on your arm.”
“I will have a man on my arm shortly.” I chance a smile as I peek up at him, expecting to find the same, but instead his eyes have darkened, the blue deepening.
“Note I said a man, Miss Banks. Not a boy, a man.” He leans down to speak closely in my ear, nodding politely at some passerby. His hand presses down on my back, the pressure firm and commanding. “Don’t play with me, Anya.”
“Isn’t that what you want? To play?” I bat my eyes innocently, but there’s nothing innocent brewing in my crafty brain tonight. I’ve learned that it’s much too fun to toy with Tanner like this. Now that I know what gets under his skin, I simply can’t deny myself the pleasure of pissing him off. He might own me in bed, but here, on neutral ground, I have full permission to reign supreme. Maybe I was right.
Maybe Lana really has been rubbing off on me.
Smugness radiates from me right now, but the truth is, now that Tanner’s hands are on me, all I really want is to be his. I would gladly let him whisk me away into a utility closet somewhere if it meant the chance to submit to his dominating ways. They really have become addictive, and I’m afraid my body will go through some sort of withdrawal once our little arrangement is over. I wonder if a rehab exists somewhere for Tanner Christensen’s ex-playthings. I wonder if such a hell exists.
“Just for that, Miss Banks, you’ll be on your knees this evening,” he whispers darkly, sending shivers down my neck.
I smile sweetly. “I won’t be seeing you this evening, Mr. Christensen. I have a date, remember?”
“Oh, you’ll be seeing me.” He laughs lightly, so damned amused with himself. “You’ll come running when your date with Junior is over. And your mouth will water.”
“I hope your hand is free tonight,” I quip, turning so my lips brush the edge of his jaw. “Otherwise you might be awfully lonely.”
He groans and gives me a sharp tug, diverting me to the left, around the first corner at the end of the hall. “You’re going to be late.”
“What? Tanner, no! My dress!” He slips a key card from his pocket and moves me toward a door on the right, and I realize my dreams have just come true. Tanner Christensen, in the flesh, is shoving me inside a utility closet. I’m inwardly cheering him on, but I don’t dare verbalize it for the man. No way am I giving him the satisfaction he’s craving.
There are no words. He hoists me up and slams me against the wall, and a mop handle thumps to the floor next to us. He kicks a bucket out of the way and shimmies my dress up my hips. His mouth hits mine like fire, razor sharp, and his fingers find my clit, rubbing in measured, even circles.
“I’m sending you to him wet and satisfied,” he exhales into my mouth. “Do you want that?”
I moan against his tongue.
“Don’t worry about your dress. You’ll take care of me later.” He leans and nips at my collarbone. “Ladies first.” I suddenly wish I could take care of him now, on my knees, just as he warned, but I am pretty glad I’ll be able to keep most of my dress intact. “Go ahead, Anya. Tell me what you want.”
“I want you to make me come.”
“Like this?” He slides his fingers deep, watching my reaction. “Or with my mouth.”
“Like this.” I tilt to meet his hand.
“Don’t you love my mouth?”
“I love your mouth.”
“But?” He pushes higher and swirls his thumb.
“But I want to taste it right now.”
“Good girl,” he whispers, then moves in to attack me with a kiss. His heat weighs down on me and his fingers get busy, rolling and pumping, alternating their rhythm until he’s worked me higher and higher, bringing me to a ledge.
I don’t last long.
It seems my body’s been craving him all evening. He smothers my shout and waits as I blast off, then plummet back to Earth, letting me ride his hand until he’s taken every last drop of my pleasure.
“Tanner,” I sigh, slumping against his shoulder, “I think I love you.”
His body goes stone still and his arms turn rigid against me. The dazed look in his eyes shifts. They are filled with clarity…then fear.
I let out a winded laugh and smack his shoulder. “Kidding, Tanner. Kidding.”
He exhales heavily and rakes a hand through his hair. His eyes are darting everywhere as he works to resume his cool. “There would certainly be worse things in the world, Miss Banks.”
Tanner and Anya’s story continues…
Choosing to put aside her reservations about spending more time with Tanner Christensen, Anya said to hell with her instinct and agreed to another cruise. She agreed to take the risk. But now she’s stuck.
Stuck on Trident Voyager.
Stuck with Tanner Christensen, and the woman hell bent on making her pay.
What was supposed to be a fun, careless fling turned out to be something else entirely. Something she wasn’t prepared for and something she certainly can’t take back. The damage is done, and this time, Lana and Brie aren’t by her side to help her weather the storm. There are no escape routes, only ship decks, miles of white sand, and one very self-assured, dominant cruise ship owner determined to get her attention and set things straight.
Lana might still be her partner in crime, but it’s Anya who must fight for—and protect—her heart when all is said and done.
My body sags as he crashes against me and we collapse, falling face forward onto the cool sheets.
“Tanner,” I mumble into the comforter.
“I can’t breathe,” I laugh. My hair’s in my mouth, choking me. “Move, Mr. Christensen.”
“Don’t want to.”
He grunts again and rolls onto his side, pulling me against him in a spooning position. “Feel good, baby?”
“No,” I pant. “No bueno.”
“You sounded satisfied to me, Miss Banks.”
“Not good. Chocolate is good. Massages are good. The beach is good.”
He chuckles deeply and adjusts my hair, brushing it from my neck to drop a kiss beneath my ear. “If you have a better adjective to describe what just happened, I’d love to hear it.”
“Boom,” I sigh. “Just…boom.”
“Wait. Isn’t that a…verb, or something?”
“It can be used as an adjective. In this case, it’s definitely an adjective.”
Tanner smoothes his hand down my hip and squeezes my ass.
“Quit being a baby.”
“It feels good. You just want me to do it again.”
“I dare you to do it again.”
Pressure clamps down on my cheek and I spring onto my back, reaching for his side, ready to retaliate.
“Oh no, you don’t,” he laughs, dodging me. His hands fly out and capture my wrists, and he body-smacks me back down onto the mattress, crawling on top to straddle me, pinning me with his thighs. “Only I get to pinch.”
“How is that fair?”
“Haven’t you learned anything in Tanner Christensen 101, Anya? I don’t play fair.”
“Tanner, let me go.”
“What you’re really saying is, make me come again.”
“God, you really need a leash for that ego of yours. It’s out of control!” I bite his bicep and he doesn’t flinch. Just watches and laughs, his lashes drawing down as he eyes my mouth, that crooked smirk wreaking havoc on my libido. This man pulls me in. Continuously. I cannot get enough of him. And right now, while we’re wrapped up in his sheets, in this beach house in the middle of the Bahamas, all I can think about is escaping with him.
But a certain faux fiancée is waiting in the wings, ready to pounce at the perfect moment and snatch him away from me. An uncomfortable tingle, something possessive and foreign tickles behind my ribcage. I’m not sure what to make of it, I only know that we have a mess to sort before I can even begin to examine its meaning.
“What’s going on in there?” Tanner asks, kissing my forehead.
“Nothing.” I stretch and yawn, then sit up to wrap my arms around him, curling my body into him, latching on like he’s my own personal pillow. His face is buried in my hair while he sandwiches me between his hard body and the mattress.
“I can’t please you if you don’t tell me what you’re thinking.”
“You pleased me plenty just a few minutes ago.”
“Talk to me.”
“I want to play with you.”
He pulls back and arches a brow, grinning down at me.
“Do you mind telling me where you’re getting this bossy streak from all of a sudden?”
It’s me who arches the brow this time.
“Ohhh, fresh.” He cups my breast and thumbs my nipple. “Careful, Miss Banks, or I’ll have my way with you again.”
“There would be worse things in the world, Mr. Christensen.”
“You have me there.”