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Authors: Jaci Burton

Summer Heat

BOOK: Summer Heat
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Summer Heat



Book 1 in the Storm
For All Seasons series.


Storm is part of a unique New Orleans family whose magical connection with the
weather goes back many years. Aidan uses his powers only when it suits his
purposes. Wielding the magic of summer heat can be advantageous when heating up
the sheets with his girl du jour. Until he meets Melissa Cross. She fires him
up hotter than a Louisiana heat wave and if he doesn't watch his heart he might
suffer a meltdown.

Cross is a staid Bostonian feeling like a fish out of water working alongside
Aidan Storm and his peculiar family. When strange things start happening
whenever she's with Aidan, she wonders what kind of magic he possesses. After
all, it isn't every day it rains in the bedroom! It isn't long before Aidan
heats up Melissa's summer and melts her frosty heart.


A Romantica®
paranormal erotic romance
Ellora’s Cave


Summer Heat
Jaci Burton




To Charlie, for
bringing magic into my life for all seasons. I love you for the care you take
with my heart, for your support in my writing, and for loving me even on the
stormiest of days.

Chapter One


Aidan Storm strolled
down the hallway of the corporate offices of The Rising Storm, his family’s
hotel. A now-familiar restlessness made him anxious.

Easy solution to that
problem. He just needed a little fun. And what better fun than teasing the
voluptuous redhead at the front desk. No crowds gathered, and Luanne stood
there completely alone. He stepped to the counter and leaned over, tapping his
finger on the back of her hand. She looked up and her eyes widened.

“Go away, Aidan, I’m
working. And the answer is still no, same as it was last time you asked me.”

“Come on, Luanne, you
know it’s been awhile.” Aidan cast a smoldering look in the redhead’s
direction. The sassy front desk clerk wasn’t buying it, judging from her
crossed arms and don’t-touch-me stance.

“Tough. You know I like
you and all, but after that time all those months ago you never called me,
never came to chat with me like you used to before we hopped in the sack

“I meant to, honey.
Work’s just been busy.”

“I’m sure it has. Much
as I’d love to, no way. Besides, I have a boyfriend now.”

“Is he as good as I

She raised a perfectly
arched brow at him. “Better. And that means hands off.”

Aidan looked to his
left and right, hoping his omnipresent brother, Logan, wouldn’t catch him
trying to get it on with the front desk clerk. He reached across the shiny
counter to grab a piece of Lu’s silken hair in his hand, letting it trail
through his fingers suggestively. “You remember how good it was between us,
don’t you?”

Luanne sighed, her face
colored a bright pink, and she licked her lips. Aidan had vivid memories of how
her wide mouth felt around the tip of his penis. Just the thought of it had the
unruly bastard twitching in his pants. 
Not now, dammit.

Like his cock would
ever listen to anything he said. He should just leave her alone. She had a
boyfriend already. But for some reason he hated to lose. He was the one who
usually walked away, not the other way around.

So he’d used Luanne
then never called her again. She’d been in it for the sex, same as him. And now
she had a boyfriend, which meant competition. Aidan’s blood stirred at the

“You know, Lu, we could
do it one more time, just for old time’s sake?”

Before she could
respond, a cold hand squeezed his shoulder. He didn’t even need to look to know
who was there.

“Hey, Logan,” Aidan
said without turning around. “I was just checking something with Lu.”

A deep, dark voice
dripping with ice responded. “You were checking to see how long it would take
until she’d drop her panties for you?”

Luanne cringed, offered
a shaky smile and scurried off. Aidan turned and looked into the frosty blue
eyes of his brother, the CEO of The Rising Storm Hotel. Sometimes Aidan hated
that Logan had been born first. “If you gotta know, then yeah. I was about to
coax her panties right off her.”

“Do it on your own
time, not company time.” Logan offered a menacing glare that usually froze the
hotel employees into doing his bidding. But after nearly thirty years of having
that look turned on him, it held little fear for Aidan.

, Logan.
You have the worst goddamn timing I’ve ever seen.”

One corner of Logan’s
mouth lifted. “You’ll survive without female companionship for a bit longer. Besides,
you have work to do.”

Aidan glanced at his
watch and swore. “That’s right. The Boston woman.”

Logan shook his head.
“The Boston woman’s name is Melissa Cross, and she’s Director of Marketing for
the Chesapeake Casino organization. You know damn well that this dual venture
between our hotel and their casino is a big step for us. So don’t fuck it up.”

Aidan leaned against
the check-in counter and crossed his arms. “Like I would do anything to
jeopardize the family business.”

“If your dick’s
involved, then yeah. What do you think just happened there with Luanne? That’s
exactly the kind of management/employee fraternization that could land us in
big trouble, Aidan. I know you and Luanne have a history, but she’s an employee
and so are you. If she wanted to, she could scream sexual harassment. So keep
it zipped. Don’t screw this deal, and for God’s sake don’t screw our new

Aidan laughed at that.
Fun was fun, but business was business, and dammit he did know the difference.
There were plenty of females to play with. The last thing he needed was an
entanglement with some uppity Boston socialite whose touch would probably ice
his balls. He preferred his women with warm, willing bodies, and sizzling hot
desires. Women who wanted fun and a little excitement, but no entanglements.

Just like him.

Okay, maybe he liked
all women. They were warm, soft, smelled good and eased the perennial ache that
burned inside him. If the ones he dallied with didn’t challenge him enough to
keep them for more than a few episodes of fun in the sack, it was his fault,
not theirs.

There was no such thing
as a soulmate or that one woman he was destined to be with. Destiny and
soulmates were part of his mother’s magical mumbo jumbo that he listened
politely to and then promptly discarded.

“Anyway,” Logan said,
inclining his head, “she’s waiting for you over in the sitting area. Maria said
she’d stopped at the desk awhile ago, and she doesn’t look happy.”

Aidan followed Logan’s
gaze to the center of the lobby where a tall, cool blonde stood with her arms
crossed, foot tapping and no smile on her face. Still, she was damn fine

Nice. More than nice. A
surge of heat arced through him, the air tingling with electricity.
Interesting. That never happened before when he looked at a woman. Oh, he might
feel a little tingle, but not an outright jolt.

And the icy blonde was
not his type at all. He preferred dark, sultry brunettes, petite and with a
sassy fire that lit up the bedroom.

This one couldn’t be
more different. Long, straight, honey blonde hair was pulled back in some kind
of binding, but he bet it would feel like silk once let loose and tangled
around his fingers. Or wrapped around his cock, which twitched in recognition
of a fine looking female. Her simple navy blue suit shouldn’t have done
anything for his libido, but the killer legs and high heels below the skirt had
him imagining those long limbs wrapped around his back.

He counted backward
from one hundred—in French, figuring he’d better tamp down his hard-on before
he went to meet Ms. Cross.

* * * * *

Melissa Cross stood in
the seating area of The Rising Storm Hotel, surveying what she’d been told was
New Orleans’ newest and most fashionable addition to the French Quarter tourist
area. She tapped her foot and scanned her watch, impatient to get the meeting

At least she had time
to survey the hotel the Chesapeake Casinos partnered with in their latest
venture. Primarily a northeastern organization, Chesapeake had recently decided
to venture into other prime gaming areas throughout the United States. New
Orleans’ popularity with travelers eager to spend gambling dollars on the
Mississippi was a great place to start.

This was only the
beginning. If Melissa played her cards right and this deal came off without a
hitch, she could name her price. She’d be a winner.

And winning was
everything in her book.

The Rising Storm was an
elegant hotel, modern yet still holding on to New Orleans’ historic flavor and
style. The minute she walked into the lobby of flowing fountains, brick
flooring and wrought iron railings she’d felt transported back to New Orleans
of old. And yet the hotel boasted the modern conveniences so popular for
travelers today.

With the addition of
the casino a short walk behind the hotel, The Rising Storm would be a force to
contend with in the French Quarter. A winner.

Checking her watch
again, she heaved a frustrated sigh. This Aidan Storm she was supposed to work
with was not a winner in her book. Already fifteen minutes late.

Her wandering gaze caught
sight of two men standing under the check-in sign at the main counter. Not
typically interested in male eye candy, she couldn’t seem to turn away once
she’d focused on them. Both tall, dark, and devastatingly handsome, they could
almost pass for twins. Considering the suits they wore, they were either at the
hotel on business or maybe employees.

Although they looked
similar, the one on the right caught her eye more than the other. Not that he
was more handsome. There was simply something about him. Her heart skidded
against her ribs when he made eye contact with her and graced her with a smile
that turned her knees to jelly.

Wow. Oh, wow. And she
was not a 
 kind of woman. Men just didn’t rumble over her
like a sudden thunderstorm, but for some reason this one did. Maybe it was the
way he looked her over, which normally she would find insulting. Instead, her
body warmed from the inside out, and considering the air conditioning in the
hotel, it couldn’t be the sultry late July heat making her break out into a

If her colleagues back
in Boston could see her now, all hot under the collar and nearly drooling over
a man, they’d laugh out loud. They called her 
Frosty Cross
her back, although she was well aware of the comments they made about her. One
of her favorites was that her clothes must be made of ice because no man could
melt them off.

And many had tried.

She’d only allowed one
man to warm her, and had been burned so badly she’d never let a man chip
through her protective layer again. She’d nearly lost it all and for what? A
man? Sex? Never again.

Not that she’d never
have sex again. But she wouldn’t have it with someone she worked with. That
mistake she’d made a few years ago had nearly cost her everything. Now, at
twenty-seven, she knew better.

Business was her
passion. Success was her love. She didn’t have the time or the inclination for
involvement with a man. Sometimes she wondered if she simply wasn’t cut out for
a relationship. She’d failed miserably at her choices before. Some things were
better left alone.

She blew out a
frustrated breath. This type of musing wasn’t good. There was no sense mulling
over the past and things that could never be when she had work to do. Work
she’d already have started on had Aidan Storm showed up on time.

The hot guy turned and
strolled her way. She shifted and tried to act cool, feeling stupid for the
whirlwind of emotions sailing through her at the thought of the Adonis in a
black suit having even the slightest interest in speaking with her.

But he certainly was
heading right toward her, his gaze determined and a wicked smile gracing his
full, sensuous lips.

“Melissa Cross?” he
asked in a mix of southern and French accents that seemed to settle somewhere
between her legs, moistening her in a way that shocked her to her toes. No man
did that to her. No man made her wet by saying her name.

“Yes.” She fought to
keep the waver out of her voice.

Holding out a hand, he
said, “I’m Aidan Storm. Sorry to be late. I was talking to my brother, Logan,
and lost track of time. I hope you can forgive me.”

This was Aidan Storm?
This was her partner? She slid her hand into his, heat arcing through her at
his touch, and knew immediately—she was doomed.

“Nice to meet you,

He crooked a smile. “No
one told me you’d be beautiful.”

Now there was a line if
she ever heard one. Shaking off thoughts of humid nights, silken sheets, and
two naked bodies twined together, she remembered who she was. And more
importantly, what she wasn’t. “I think you can drop the pleasantries, Aidan.
This isn’t a date and I prefer to keep my professional relationships just

“Whatever you
,” he replied in that delicious accent that made her want
to lick it off his lips. “Let’s get you settled into your room and I’ll show
you around.”

She nodded and followed
him, trying not to notice his tall, well-built body. The dark suit fit him so
well it looked like it had been especially tailored for him. Nor did she want
to notice his crisp, clean scent. A man like him didn’t need to rely on
cologne—his natural scent nearly had her coming in her panties.

Blowing out a breath,
Melissa mentally repeated over and over that Aidan Storm was a business
partner, not a potential sex mate. Even if her traitorous mind reminded her it
had been a very long time since she’d had a man in her bed.

After dealing with her
reservations and making arrangements for her bags to be delivered to her room,
Aidan escorted her through the lobby and toward the elevators.

“So, you’re from
Boston?” he asked as they rode the elevator.

Melissa kept her
distance, preferring not to court dangerous thoughts any more than she already
had. “Yes.”

BOOK: Summer Heat
7.15Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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