Parading in front of a room full of women is not Adrian Collins’ idea of a good time. The last thing he wants to do is fly to Chicago for a bachelor auction. But, how can he refuse to help the woman who nurtured him after his mother abandoned him when he was a toddler? Going back to the site of his deepest wounds is where he’ll meet his destiny, Daphne Turner. Adrian is disappointed when Daphne slips through his fingers after losing the bid to an old flame from his past.
Reeling from the death of her uncle, Daphne accepts her best friend’s offer to attend a fundraiser in the windy city. Good cause or not, the idea of spending hard-earned money on a date is ludicrous. That is, until she locks eyes with ruggedly-handsome bachelor number twelve. Unfortunately, the night doesn’t end as Daphne hoped. In the company of a sexy stranger to chase her blues away.
Fate intervenes when Adrian and Daphne’s paths intertwine. However, Adrian’s past threatens to rob them of a life of happiness. Will Daphne’s love be enough to heal his wounded soul?
Finally, the Motrin kicked in leaving a faint trace of pain behind. Ear buds in, Daphne tapped her foot to the beat of Jill Scott singing about life being golden. Turn around, she heard Uncle Hal’s voice whisper. Daphne’s foot stopped its movement. Eyes shifting to the left and then the right, she expected to see her uncle.
“Oh, my God. I’m going crazy,” she mumbled under her breath, hoping the woman in front of her didn’t hear her talking to herself. Turn around. This time the inner voice was more persistent.
Slowly, Daphne complied. The man responsible for her recent agony was less than fifteen feet away. Lord, she was trying not to stare. But how could she not? He was downright sexy with swagger for days. And that grin curving his full mouth made her remember what she’d been missing since her vow of celibacy three years ago. What would those lips feel like kissing every inch of her body? Daphne’s eyes were drawn to his hands and his feet. Ooh, have mercy. Heat flushed her insides as a naughty thought skipped across her mind. Why hadn’t she noticed those big feet the other night?
“We meet again,” came his smooth introduction into what Daphne hoped would be a conversation with them exchanging phone numbers as he stepped in line behind her.
A sultry smile played around Daphne lips. “I don’t recall us meeting.” She wouldn’t dare bring up the dreaded auction.
“My bad.” Adrian held out his hand. “Adrian Collins.”
Daphne hesitated before accepting the proffered hand. Because she felt in her spirit once their bodies made contact, there was no reversing whatever fate awaited her. Awaited them.
“Daphne Turner.” She tilted her head back to look up at him. “You’re a lot taller than I thought you would be.”
Adrian’s laugher sent quivers through her belly.
“And you look a lot shorter than you did Saturday night.”
Moving to close the gap in the line between her and the woman in front, Daphne glanced down at the sneakers covering her feet. “It was the heels.”
She shifted her gaze to the McDonald’s across the hall to hide her flushed cheeks. The memory of how his eyes caressed her bare legs made her inside tingle in the most delicious way.
Daphne held her breath when Adrian leaned forward, bringing his mouth mere inches from the shell of her ear. His breath was warm, stoking a flame in her when he whispered, “You have amazing legs. I damn near tripped over my feet staring at them.”
Was he a mind reader? Daphne wondered.
“Next in line.” The cashier called. Caught in a haze, Daphne hadn’t heard the twenty-something. How was she supposed to hear anything when this man was so close? If she turned her head in the slightest movement, their lips would touch. Sweet baby Jesus!
Her eyelids closed, and she inhaled deeply when he leaned even closer. His lips brushed her earlobe when he whispered, “It’s your turn to order.”
Daphne’s eyes fluttered open. Adrian’s teasing smile had a nerve to be as sexy as he was.
Embarrassed, she spun around to take her focus off Adrian. But that wasn’t any better because the cashier giggled. “Listen, if you don’t want him, I’ll gladly take him off your hands.”
“You and half the women in this airport,” Daphne jokingly replied under her breath before placing her order for a white-chocolate caramel latte with soy milk. Adrian covered her hand to stop her from going into her purse.
“I got it,” he told her before adding an order for a black coffee.
After their orders were taken and paid for, they moved to the side of the counter to wait. Although it was only a five-dollar beverage, Daphne was impressed that he offered to pay for it. The last guy she went out with insisted they go Dutch. Cheap bastard.
“Thanks for buying my latte.”
“My pleasure, pretty lady.”
Daphne blushed again. This man was splendid for her ego. When was the last time a man made her feel this good about herself?
“Full of compliments,” Daphne shyly murmured.
Adrian’s laugh was deep and sexy, causing her belly to quiver again. She wondered if he was teasing and playful in bed. Or was he intense and serious? Or was he gifted and possessed with the ability to switch between the two when the mood called for it?
WIN A COPY OF CALIENTE NIGHTS BY SUZETTE RIDDICK
ABOUT SUZETTE RIDDICK
Suzette Riddick is a wife, mother, and nurse practitioner who enjoys writing about flawed characters on a quest for love. She is an Amazon Best-Selling Author and was a featured author in USA Today ~ Happy Ever After. A native of Philadelphia, PA, Suzette loves to travel, read, and is addicted to Chanel parfum.
To learn more about Suzette visit her website at www.suzetteriddick.com.