Readers who’ve purchased Temptation will recognize this sneak peek from Surrender since it’s included at the end of that book, but for those who haven’t picked it up yet, here’s a long excerpt that sets the stage for Stefan’s book ( snag Temptation now in the ONLY sale of 2014–find links at the end of this post). Enjoy! I promise there’s no way this writer would ever let a man that cocky stay that way. 😉
Cash’s office door opened and a knockout brunette walked out right past me on her way toward the front door and out of my life if I didn’t stop her. Quickly following behind, I caught up to her and tapped her on the shoulder. “Hey, where you going? If you’re here for a job, you’ll probably be dealing with me.”
She turned around and looked me up and down, her gaze settling on mine after she’d thoroughly checked me out. “Yeah? Well, if I get the job, we can talk then.”
“I’m part owner here, so you’ll definitely get the job. What’s your name?” I asked, dying to find out who this woman with as much nerve as I had was.
“Shaylene Callahan, but everyone calls me Shay.”
“Well, Shay, whatever job you want, it’s yours.”
Despite the fact that I’d just assured her she could have a job at the hottest club in town, her expression screamed she was unimpressed. What was with this girl?
“Well, that’s good. Guess I’ll be starting when your boss calls me.”
“Brother, and he’s not my boss. He and I own this place, along with our other brother. My name is Stefan March. I manage Club X. What job were you interviewing for?”
I silently prayed to God it wasn’t one of Kane’s dancers because while I would fight him for her, dealing with that miserable fuck was difficult on any day but especially recently. I didn’t know what his problem was, but he’d been downright surly for the last week.
Shay pushed her right hip out and smiled. “Bartender. I need some good money and I’ve heard this place is where to get it.”
“Then you’ll be working under me,” I said as I licked my lips in anticipation of her being under me in more ways than just at work.
Her green eyes flashed anger. “Under you? Well, bossman, this is the twenty-first century and this act of yours is straight out of chapter one in the how to sexually harass your employees handbook. Perhaps we should say I’ll be reporting to you during my working hours. And that’s it.”
Her words were like a hard slap to my face. I couldn’t decide if she was the world’s biggest bitch or what could be my greatest conquest yet. Either way, she had sharp tongue in that beautiful mouth of hers. This kitten had claws.
“You don’t sound like any bartender I’ve ever had…working for me.”
“That’s probably because you don’t often get microbiology grad students serving liquor to your guests.”
God, every word out of her mouth was a jab, but I liked a challenge. “Do you have any experience bartending, Shay? I mean, you’re nice and all, but I don’t have the time to train a newbie.”
Her eyebrows shot up, and her eyes flashed her anger once again. “I think you’ll see by my application that I have more than enough experience for you. I’ve been bartending since my second year in undergraduate school. That’s the first four years of college, by the way.”
Ah, now I understood. She was a smart girl. Normally, I stayed as far away as possible from that kind of female. They always had all the answers and never understood how to truly have fun. And worst of all, they always wanted a relationship. Of all the things I wanted in my next woman, intelligence was at the bottom of my list.
“College? Well, I guess that’s a nice way to spend four years. I preferred earning money, but to each his own. Microbiologist, huh? Probably will never make enough to afford a membership here anyway. Good thing you’re going to be an employee working for us. Employees get free memberships.”
In truth, as a bartender, Shay wouldn’t be given a membership since she wouldn’t be an upper level employee. Only Cash, Kane, and I got them, along with his assistant, Olivia. But as part owner, I could give Shay a membership if I chose to.
At the moment, I couldn’t think of anything I’d like to do less.
“I’m not interested in a membership, Stefan. I’m interested in making money at a job. Hopefully, you and your brothers will recognize my talents and hire me. Either way, I have to go.”
Before I could say another word, she turned on her heels and marched out the door. Fuck, she was a feisty one. I stood there watching the door close while my brain played tug of war with itself. On the one hand, Shay was smoking hot and I had no doubt having her would be a good time. Long brown hair, a mouth that would have made me hard if it wasn’t spewing such sharpness, and a body….fuck, her body was hot! My mind was already filled with thoughts of how incredible it would be to fuck her. What an ass she had! On the other hand, she was smart and possessed a level of bitchiness that even I had to admit I might not be able to overcome.
Might. But if I’d ever met a challenge, it was her.
“She wants a job as a bartender,” Cash announced behind me. Turning to face him, I pretended not to care. “Yeah?” I said with a shrug. “I don’t know if I need a new bartender, and we have a list a mile long of people who want to be one.”
“Okay. I just wanted to mention it. She seemed nice in the interview. Kane liked her well enough, which says something, I guess. You would have gotten to talk to her if you bothered to join us.”
Why I hadn’t gotten to the interview on time had to do more with nursing a hangover from the night before than with not caring about Cash’s precious hiring process. Not that I really cared to sit through hour after hour of interviews with him and Kane. “We have private investigators for a reason. I don’t need to see every goddamn person who walks through the door for a job, Cash.”
He put his hands up in surrender. “Okay, okay. Take it easy. You don’t want her to work for us, she won’t work for us. Case closed.”
Cash walked away as I stood still stinging from Shay’s barbed jabs. I didn’t know if I wanted to bother trying to get with her. With all the women in the world, why take the time to overcome whatever defensive bullshit she had going on?
Kane came around me and stood with his arms folded across his chest. “She’s a wild one, isn’t she?”
“Wild? I missed the interview, so I wouldn’t know.”
“I heard how she took you down a few pegs before she left. Looks like there’s at least one woman you won’t be having.”
I didn’t enjoy Kane’s smugness. Whether it was because he’d been pissed off about something recently or because he never had any women, he seemed to truly enjoy Shay’s attitude with me.
“It doesn’t matter how fucking wild she is. She’s not going to be working here, so what do I care?”
“Seems to have struck a nerve there, Stef. I guess she’s just out of your league.”
He wasn’t even trying to hide his joy over this. “Has nothing to do with leagues, Kane. If it did, we might be talking about how someone like that wouldn’t even bother talking to the likes of you if you weren’t part owner of this club.”
“I’m not the one who thinks he can have any woman on Earth. I’m a little choosier and I prefer to keep my relationships a little more private. You prefer to have them displayed on the bar each night and then in lawyers’ offices during depositions. But you’re not going to get the chance with this one.”
“That sounds like a challenge, Kane. I don’t think you’re up to it, though.”
He chuckled and shook his head. “She’s not my type, Stefan. I don’t want her, and I won’t fight for her.”
“Not fight for her. It just sounds like you don’t think I could get her.”
His chuckle morphed into a full-blown laugh. “I know you can’t. That woman is too smart for you. She saw your game coming a mile away. Accept it. Shay isn’t a woman you can have. Move on and be happy with those cheap little playthings you prefer to spend your time with.”
“You honestly don’t think I can get her to go out with me, do you?”
“I honestly can’t believe you’d want her. She’s too much work for you, Stefan. You’d have to be more than the man whore you’ve always been. I just don’t think you’re up to it.”
Was Kane serious? “You’re saying you think there’s a woman I can’t seduce? Am I hearing you right?”
“I’m saying seducing her isn’t something you know how to do. It’s going to take a whole lot more than a few drinks, your charming smile, and whatever smooth lines you use to get with your usual type.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Kane, who I didn’t think I’d ever seen with a woman, was doubting my ability to charm someone. Kane, who most females backed away from in fear, was saying I wasn’t smart enough to get Shay Callahan, science nerd, into bed. He had to be kidding!
“Kane, you’re coming dangerously close to insulting me. For a man who has so little success with women, you seem to not know how successful I’ve been.”
“I’ve seen your conquests. Not impressed. It doesn’t take much to get cheap sluts to fuck you. They’re going to do it anyway, so if you’re the nearest guy around, you luck out.”
“Fuck you, Kane!” I spat out, sick of this conversation. It wasn’t bad enough I was hung over, but now I’d had to deal with two people giving me shit.
“You know what they say. It’s all about location, location, location. I’d bet that if you didn’t have a constant stream of young ones wanting to work as bartenders here that you’d get far less ass.”
The guy was taunting me. I knew it, but something in me snapped and made me want to force him to put up or shut up. Kane was much bigger than I was, though, and I wasn’t stupid. I may have wanted to knock him flat on his ass, but the reality was that I’d likely get one or two shots in before he kicked me around my bar.
No, I couldn’t beat him physically. But there were other ways to bring him down to size.
“Kane, I could stand here all day trading jabs with you, but I’ve got a better idea. Let’s make a bet. That’s if you’re up to it, of course.”
He stepped back and stared me down. “You want to bet what with me? That you can get with that girl?”
“Yeah. Take the bet or show you’re all talk.”
“I’m not interested in chasing after that girl. She’s not my type. I don’t even pretend she is. I’m not interested in her or your bet.”
He turned to walk away, but I caught him by the shoulder and stopped him. “Hear me out. I’m not talking about a bet to see if you can get her before I do. I’m saying I’ll bet you I can get her to fall for me.”
“What’s in it for me, other than seeing you make an ass out of yourself?” he asked with the sinister grin he wore so often around me.
“Name it. You set the terms.”
He took a few moments to think about my offer and finally said, “Let me see if I got this straight. You’re bothered that I don’t think you have in it you to get this girl, so you want to make a bet that you can?”
I forced a nonchalant shrug. “If you don’t think you’re up to it…”
“Is this part of that Stefan charm that gets all the women to fuck you? I don’t see it, but if you insist, I’ll take your bet.”
“Good. Name your terms.”
“You have to get this girl to fall for you, and I don’t mean just sleep with you. She has to be in love with you or you don’t win.”
The reality that making a woman fall in love was much harder than making one fall into bed with you was a real problem. Women like Shay didn’t do either easily, I guessed, but sex was a whole lot easier than love.
“And you have only one semester to do this in. She made it clear in the interview that next semester she’s not going to be able to work since she’ll be studying abroad. That gives you maybe four months.”
“Four months? What the fuck, Kane? How long does it take for you to get into a woman’s pants? Jesus, I bet I can do it in a tenth of that time.”
“You do realize she’s not like the other women who work for you, right? She’s smart, successful, and from what I already heard from her when she stood right there and dressed you down, she doesn’t even like you.”
“No matter. I’ll take the four months, but I don’t plan to need it. What else?” I bragged, secretly admitting to myself that it very well could take half that time just to get her to warm up to me. After that, though, it would be smooth sailing.
“You have to show proof.”
I’d always suspected Kane was a kinky one. What did he want? Video? “Proof like what? You planning to watch me sleep with her?” I joked.
“Cash and Olivia are planning their engagement party for just around the time you’d have to get Shay to fall for you. You’re going to have to show up to the party with her, and you’re going to have to get her to say she loves you.”
“As long as I don’t have to be in love with her, we have a deal.”
“The man whore in love? I’m not ready for Hell to freeze over just yet. No, all you need is her in love with you.”
I chucked him on the shoulder. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you this cruel, Kane. It seems heartless to have the girl fall in love with me when I won’t be in love with her.”
Shaking his head, he smiled. “Not cruel at all. If I thought for a second that this one would even give you the time of day, I wouldn’t agree to this bet at all. I don’t think you have a chance, little brother. You’ve met your match this time.”
“Yeah, yeah. Whatever. So what do I get if I win?”
Kane grinned. “A gorgeous woman you’d never deserve in love with you.”
“Not good enough. I want something from you when I win. Put up or shut up.”
“You can’t want money. What else do I have that you want?” he asked, genuinely confused about what I could be angling for.
A look of terror crossed his face and he shook his head quickly. “No.”
“What’s wrong, big brother? Chicken shit?”
“I’m not risking my car. There’s no way in hell I’m letting you touch that baby.”
I’d wanted to get my hands on Kane’s 69 Mustang Boss 429 since the first time I laid eyes on it. Black, sexier than any vehicle I’d ever seen, it was the one car I hadn’t been able to find for my own. I’d get that car and Shay too.
“Seems like you think I might win, Kane. All that talk and when push comes to shove, you’re nowhere to be found.”
Leaning down, he pushed his face close to mine. “I’m not betting my car, Stefan. I don’t care if you fuck this girl or not. No deal.”
“Then let me have it for a weekend. I win and you give me your car for a whole weekend.”
He seemed to think about my concession and nodded. “And what do I get if you lose? I’m not risking the one thing I care about more than life itself if I don’t get something pretty fucking incredible in return.”
“My humiliation won’t be enough?”
“I don’t think you’ll be humiliated. You won’t really care for her, so your feelings won’t be involved. This has to be something worthwhile if my car is on the line, even if it is only for a weekend.”
“How about my apartment? You seemed to like it when you came over that one time.”
Kane raised his eyebrows in disbelief. “You’re going to give me your apartment on the bay?”
“Sure.” I was pretty sure he’d never get to step foot into my place.
“So let me get this straight. If you don’t get this woman to fall in love with you within four months, you’ll give me your apartment. For how long?”
“For an entire year.”
“And if you do get her to fall in love with you, you get my car for a weekend?”
“Sounds good. Is it a deal?” I asked, holding my hand out to shake on it.
Kane took my hand and shook it hard. “I’m going to enjoy that place of yours, and seeing you get shot down by a real woman will just be icing on the cake.”
“Just get that Mustang ready for me. I plan to enjoy my weekend with it picking up women. If you had any skills, you’d use it to get chicks too.”
Shaking his head, he mumbled something as he walked away, no doubt sure he would win our bet. I had no intention of losing this one. That car and my reputation meant too much to me.
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