Authors: Liliana Rhodes
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His Every Whim Series
His Every Whim, Part 1
Perfect Together (April 2016)
Made Man Trilogy
Gambino Family Novels
Sonny (Spring 2016)
The Crane Curse Trilogy
Canyon Cove #4
Copyright © 2016 by Jaded Speck Publishing
Covers by CT Cover Designs
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer's imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the author except in the case of brief quotation embodied in critical articles and reviews.
“Stay with me for just one night. You can go back to hating me in the morning.”
After one bad relationship after another, Jackie Stone is done with men. Jackie has seen Brent’s kind before. He’s devastatingly handsome, funny, and can charm anyone, even her. But after he lets her down, she’s convinced he’s just another bad relationship waiting to happen.
But billionaire Brent Winslow isn’t the man Jackie thinks he is. After coming to her rescue, he devises a plan to make her fall in love with him. He wants just one night. And he’ll make it one she’ll never forget.
What happens when the one person you hate becomes the one you can’t live without?
It was a perfect June day in Canyon Cove. The sun was beginning to set into the Pacific Ocean and one of my best friends just married the love of her life. Things couldn’t be better.
I sat at a table in the corner of the large patio facing the beach, admiring the view. It was a small wedding and even though I was happy for Samantha and Drake, I couldn’t deny the emptiness I felt. I looked at my new friend with his warm brown eyes and silky black hair and smiled.
“There’s nothing like a romantic beach wedding. And of course to heighten the romance even more it has to happen at sunset, with the orange haze of the sun glittering perfectly off the calm ocean,” I said as a bird squawked.
“Just ignore the seagulls flying overhead, cackling to each other about the cake they’re ready to dive bomb. Or the sand flying into everyone’s eyes and hair with the gentle breeze,” I added, dryly.
“Why are you looking at me like that?” I asked, tilting my head to mirror my friend. “No, I’m not bitter. Trust me when I say that getting married is the last thing on my mind. Sure, I like to play the game and ooh and ahh over the diamond engagement rings and fancy place settings no one ever uses, but it’s not something I even think about.
“Really, I am ecstatic for Samantha and Drake. I mean look at her, she is literally glowing. And with that red hair, she’s giving the sun a run for its money. Everything turned out perfect for her – she got her fairy tale, her prince, her perfect June beach wedding. I just wish she’d lay off trying to fix me up with the best man. I need a boyfriend like I need a hole in my head,” I said.
“I don’t need it. I don’t want it,” I said, waving my hand in front of me. “Dating is too complicated. And it’ll just distract me from the things that are important to me like finishing my Masters in Social Work. I’m thirty, I have a lot going on in my life. I could care less if I ever get married.”
I stopped to admire my companion’s quizzical look.
“You’re looking at me like I’m crazy, but it’s true,” I said. “I don’t want to get married. I don’t even want a boyfriend. Well, not unless he’s battery-powered.”
I laughed as I scratched my new friend’s wide head. His tongue rolled out of his mouth as he panted happily.
“You have it easy, my friend,” I said as the dog tilted his head. “No, no, you keep giving me that look, but trust me when I say that life is much easier for you than it is for me.”
He nudged the plate in my lap and then looked at me with his big brown eyes. I broke off a small piece of cheese and held it out to him. With his tail wagging, he took the cheese and swallowed it whole.
“I had a Lab like you about five years ago,” I said. “He loved cheese. Actually loved everything and everyone, he wasn’t very picky.”
I handed him another small piece of cheese as he drooled a little on my blue dress.
“There you are, Shade.” A man’s voice came from behind me. It was smooth and deep and even without seeing who it was, it made my heart skip.
I turned around and recognized Mr. Best Man himself, Brent Winslow. Brother of the groom and my dream guy, at least according to Samantha.
“I trained him to find the most beautiful women wherever we go,” Brent said as he flashed a perfect smile at me.
I rolled my eyes.
“Does that ever work?” I asked.
“He found you, didn’t he?”
“No, I meant the line,” I said.
He laughed, and small crinkles appeared at the corners of his smoky gray eyes and around his mouth. Samantha was right, he was a really good-looking man. Better than good-looking, he was hot. But it was obvious he knew that.
Brent was a human Ken doll with his perfect blond hair parted on the side, square jaw, chiseled cheekbones, and broad shoulders. The fact that he was wearing a dusty blue guayabera shirt and pale linen pants didn’t help. I could easily imagine him living in a hot pink box at the toy store. Malibu Brent.
I didn’t know what Samantha was thinking by saying he was perfect for me. I definitely was not a Barbie.
Pushing some loose strands of my brown hair back behind my ear, I looked back at my conversation partner, who was eyeing the rest of the cheese on my plate.
“Was he the only date you could get for the wedding?” I asked as I scratched Shade under his chin.
“I don’t need a date,” Brent said. “I’m the best man, remember? As maid of honor, you’re practically required to sleep with me.”
“I wasn’t talking to you,” I said, turning towards Brent. “I was talking to Shade.” I turned my attention back to Shade. “You know, you really could do a lot better.”