[tab: Dare to Love]
DARE TO LOVE
Sassy fashion buyer Lexie Thompson has had a series of no-strings relationships, which suits her just fine. That’s until her best pal Nia suggests a blind date with her fiancé’s best friend: charismatic William Kennedy, owner of the hot nightclub Millennium. Sparks certainly fly, when they meet…but they burn a bit too hot – Lexie thinks sexy, confident Will is arrogant, while he’s convinced she’s gorgeous, but shallow. When Lexie’s put in charge of her company’s fashion show and needs a venue, Will offers Millennium. Lexie reluctantly agrees, but as they work together, she realizes she misjudged him. Can Will convince the love ’em and leave ’em Lexie that they’ve got what it takes to last a lifetime?
Will sensed Lexie the moment he heard the clicking of her heels against the hardwood floor or smelled the exotic scent of gardenia perfume, but he refused to be the first to speak. Miss High and Mighty had obviously come for a reason and he would let her stew in it.
He appeared to be very deep in paperwork, but Lexie would not be deterred. When Will didn’t look up, Lexie coughed loudly to clear her throat. “Ahem. Excuse me.” Lexie snapped her fingers in front of Will’s face. Before she had a chance to pull away, Will’s hand reached out and seized hers.
An electric charge ran through her veins like she’d been hit by lightning. Stunned, Lexie remained silent. Neither of them spoke or moved a muscle. Instead, they peered into one another’s eyes. A long silence ensued before Lexie finally snatched her hand away.
“And to what do I owe the pleasure?” Will finally asked after several intense moments.
Lexie blinked and broke herself out of the daze she was in. Why was it that every time she was within five feet of this man, her heart flip-flopped?
“I’m, I, umm,” she stuttered, trying to collect her thoughts. Pull yourself together, Lexie and put your ego on the shelf. A promotion depended on the fashion show success.
“I need to use your club,” Lexie spit out unceremoniously.
“Oh, really?” Will greeted her harsh tone with sarcasm. “I don’t recall your asking.”
“Well, I’m here, aren’t I?” Lexie asked, oddly annoyed at his manner.
Biting her tongue, Lexie answered. “And I need your help.”
After her diva routine on their blind date, Will soaked up every minute of Lexie’s discomfort. Maybe it would bring her down a peg or two.
“I would like to use your club for Bentley’s fashion show,” Lexie managed to eke out her plans. “I would of course pay you handsomely for the use of your club.”
“Of course.” Will stood up. Even in three-inch high Prada boots, Lexie was dwarfed by his stature.
Lexie watched him walk behind the bar and pour himself a glass of brandy as he thought about her offer. “You mind if I have one of those?” she asked. Will grabbed another glass from under the bar. Pouring some in a decanter, he pushed it toward her. Taking a sip, Lexie anxiously awaited his answer. “Well?”
“I don’t think so.”
“And why not?” Lexie replied haughtily. “I’ll pay you double the fair market price.”
“Why should I help the woman who thinks I’m a thug and as well as a Neanderthal?” She must think I’ve had a memory lapse, Will thought. He hadn’t forgotten her harsh words during their first encounter and he wasn’t about to get into bed, no, make that business with a shrew like Lexie Thompson.
Lexie blushed at the memory of her less than kind words. Unfortunately, she needed this man. Hmmm, wrong choice of words. She needed the man’s club and she would do anything to get it. Every avenue she’d checked came up empty. She had no choice but to cater to his over-sized ego.
“Listen, Will,” Lexie began, lowering her voice to a low, sultry whisper. She was hoping a little feminine charm might go a long way. Easing out of her leather jacket, Lexie leaned over the bar giving Will a tantalizing view of her cleavage, elevated by one those push-up numbers. “I apologize for my behavior the other night. It truly wasn’t one of my better moments.”
“No, it wasn’t. So why don’t you tell me what’s in this deal for me?” Will enjoyed watching Lexie’s attempts to seduce him. Even better was the view of her full breasts from across the bar. He wondered what it would be like to mold those beautiful breasts in his hands. Would they be as soft and malleable as they appeared?
He hoped so. It took a lot of nerve for the little pampered princess to come to him. He liked chutzpah and Lexie Thompson had it in droves.
Lexie on the other hand, was tied in knots. She hoped Will wouldn’t automatically turn his nose at the idea of a fashion show because of her grand theatrics the other night. She needed a venue and Millennium was it. So if a little groveling was required, then by all means, she would suck it up.
“As I said, I will pay you a small fortune. And let’s not forget the free publicity the show would provide for your club. It’ll be advertised in all the fashion magazines and society pages. Imagine all those wealthy people coming to the club and spending all their money?”
“You have a deal.” Will extended his hand.
Cautiously, Lexie accepted it. She was stunned. Had she heard correctly? Was he giving up that easy without fight? She’d expected a lot more resistance from him.
“Do you have a problem?” Will asked, observing Lexie’s open mouth.
Disconcerted, she crossed her arms and pointedly looked away. “Of course not. I’m just surprised. I expected you would turn me down.”
“Why? You presented your case and it sounds reasonable and quite profitable. There is one condition, though.”
The moment the words were uttered, Lexie’s sexy grin was replaced with a frown. She smelled a rat.
“I knew it. There had to be more to the story. What’s your condition?”
“All items must be approved by me first,” Will replied, taking a sip from his drink. What better way to get under the beautiful lady’s skin?
“Have you lost your ever loving mind?” Lexie jumped out of her seat. “This is my show.”
“Actually, I haven’t,” Will answered wryly. “This is my club and I decide what goes on here and what doesn’t. You can take it or leave it.”
Lexie thought about it for a minute. She was all out of options and in desperate need of a venue. “I’ll take it.”
“Good. I think that was a wise move on your part.”
“Ugh, why do you have to be patronizing?” Lexie asked.
“And why do you always rise to the occasion?”
Did she enjoy sparring with him? Lexie was momentarily speechless and Will took her silence as a sign of triumph. “Why don’t we seal this deal?” In one fluid motion, he’d moved from behind the bar and, with powerful hands, yanked her to her feet.
Instantly, Lexie stepped back, but Will closed the space between them until Lexie had no choice but to look into his onyx eyes. And when she did, he moved in for the kill.
Leaning forward, Will planted a long, searing kiss on her lips. Lexie stiffened in shock, but Will didn’t waste any time bending her to his will. His tongue teased them open until Lexie allowed him access to explore the innermost caverns of her mouth. Once inside, his hot, wet tongue molded with hers causing Lexie to moan out loud.
Never in a million years would she have dreamed that coming to the club would lead to this moment. After the initial spark between them, Lexie had banished all thoughts of Will Kennedy to the farthest recesses of her mind, but her body had a mind all its own and it was responding to his with equal fervor.
Instinctively, she moved her midriff closer, eager to feel his pulsating masculinity. And when she felt his growing manhood pressed up against her, every part of her felt alive and thrilled by this man with whom she had little in common.
Suddenly a door slammed and several people walked in, who Lexie could only assume were Will’s staff. She pulled away, embarrassed not by her wanton behavior, but by the person she was engaging in it with. Lowering her head, she adjusted her blouse, which somehow had risen up during their encounter. Had he been about to touch her breasts? If so, his staff would have received quite an eyeful.
Lexie shook her head in amazement. What had gotten into her? Looking over at Will, she caught the sly, unashamed grin on his face. He didn’t appear phased in the least bit by what had just happened between them. Instead, he looked oddly pleased with himself as if he had just proven a point.
“And why are you looking like the cat that just swallowed the canary?” Lexie asked. She hated that he stood there so smug and unaffected. Surely her kisses had caused him to get weak in the knees too? Or had she lost her effect on men?
“Well, you proved my point-”
“And what theory might that be?”
“That as much as we might protest and claim to dislike one another, you and I are well suited physically.”
“That’s utterly ridiculous.” Lexie said. “Of all the things — you just caught me off guard is all.”
“Would you care to put it to the test again?” Will took a playful step toward her.
“No, I do not. Keep away!” Lexie warned, holding her hand up in defense. She doubted she could resist such a temptation and she refused to give him the satisfaction of being right. Things were getting out of hand; she had to leave now and clear her head so she could assess the situation.
“Well, if you’re so immune, meet me at the club later this evening. We’ll have dinner, drinks, a little dancing, and settle this once and for all.” He was offering a challenge, but the more important question was should she take him up on it?
“The sexy and at times comical banter between Will and Lexie makes Dare to Love move fast and flow smoothly. Characters that are polar opposites engage in a battle of wills that makes readers eager to see how this sequel to One Magic Moment unfolds. Will’s alpha-male persona and Lexie’s independence are creatively balanced. And secondary plots add further interest and depth. St. John breaks the monotony of traditional romance with this unique novel.”
A ROMANCE REVIEW
“Yahrah St. John is a writer who remembers her friends, her characters and her fans. In Dare to Love, St. John brings back old favorites, Nia and Damon, from One Magic Moment. In this second novel of the Taylor/Bradley chronicle, Nia and Damon introduce readers to two new friends, Lexie and William. Lexie and William’s heated romance, from blind date to the beginning of their new lives together, is the enthralling story line of Dare to Love. Surprisingly, Dare to Love even manages to be better than its predecessor. Only a writer as talented as Yahrah St. John can improve upon perfection.
Lexie and William are both engaging, complex characters who are forced to deal with the sudden impact of love in their lives. Love causes Lexie to change for the better. She loses some of her cynicism and becomes a nicer person who is able to open herself up to others. William is an all around nice guy who is so afraid of losing out on something big that he almost throws away the most important thing in his life. When the two of them come together, it is explosive, and St. John writes their intimate scenes with a vividness that is so intense, readers might end up blushing. Still, it is great stuff, and readers will be just like this reviewer, clamoring for Ms. St. John’s next novel in the Taylor/Bradley saga.”
IMANI BOOK CLUB REVIEW
“Yahrah St. John has written a sizzling novel. This romance is hot, hot and hot. The characters are so strong readers will easily imagine these two as real characters. And did I mention this novel was hot? The pace of the romance and the resolution when the couple realizes their love for each other are realistic and truly honest portrayals. Readers watch as they work on their relationship and love each other enough to compromise with their differences. This couple had the pages scorching with sexual escapades that will leave reader breathless. I personally look forward to the next novel by this talented new romance writer. Did I mention this novel is hot? You will definitely want to indulge yourself in this Hot romance.[tab:END]