If you're visiting from Facebook, Welcome! Unlike my #SampleSunday excerpts, some of these will be short and/or random snippets from my erotic romances releasing August 4th. Know why? Because they're too sexy for my website!
Mastering Her Role is one of two full-length novels in The Dani Collins Erotic Romance Collection. They're not really a series, but if you prefer to read in order, you'll want to read this one first as the characters have a brief cameo in Playing The Master.
Here's the first half-dozen pages to get you started:
~ * ~
“If I didn’t know better, I’d suspect you of trying to seduce me,” Jason said.
Arianne looked up from her coq au vin. A prickling sting crept into her cheeks and her heart stuttered. Was she that obvious?
Her nerveless fingers pleated the napkin in her lap—the cloth napkin that matched the linen tablecloth tinted golden by the late-summer sun.
“Because I went to a bit of extra effort? The catered meals you order outshine this any day.”
He took a moment to nip the last bit of flesh from a petite drumstick, set it aside and licked his glossy fingertips. The wet sound and flick of his tongue, coupled with the way his gaze stayed fixed on her face, made her breathless and fluttery. Hot.
Who was seducing whom?
Her scorching cheeks continued to burn, but she couldn’t look away.
“If you think so highly of what I serve, why have you been declining to join me lately? This is the first meal we’ve shared in weeks. What’s going on, Arianne? Have you been angry with me about something?”
She shook her head, growing even more self-conscious and uncomfortable. This attraction, crush, obsession—whatever it was—had already become impossible to stifle, even before she’d heard a snippet of gossip about him that had thrown her into a tailspin.
“I’ve had a lot on my mind. I wanted to ask you a fa…vor.” Her voice quavered. “But I wasn’t sure how to approach it.” She cleared her throat.
“Yes?” He took up his wineglass and sipped from the oversize bowl.
It was a good white. She’d asked around to be sure. He didn’t seem to notice, only stared like a predatory cat. His eyes were keen slits and his body still and ready. He looked that way when he taught her fencing, and she knew it meant he’d be giving no quarter.
Honestly, why on earth did such a dynamic, chiseled, sexy man waste his time with his frigid, repressed neighbor? His body belonged on a professional athlete, all lean muscle and economic movements. He was intelligent with a dry wit and had excellent taste in everything. He couldn’t lack for female company, yet they’d been sharing two or three meals a week for nearly a year. She’d been the one to reach out initially, thinking he must be as heartbroken as she was when their partners ran off together, but now…
Now she felt like the most naive fool in the Western world.
“I don’t know how you pass yourself off as a writer of technical manuals,” she muttered with mild disgust, sipping her own wine and looking toward his stately mansion with a view of the ocean. What a Cinderella she was in her modest guest cottage, purchased from the mansion’s previous misfortuned owner by mortgaging herself to the rafters. She was so beyond her league here.
And so besotted.
“I didn’t hear a request for a favor in that statement.”
“No.” She almost wanted to quit now and look a small fool than pursue insanity and become a bigger one, but after weeks of wrestling this problem, she had made a decision and would stick to it.
In a minute. When she found her nerve.
She buried her nose in the bouquet of chilled sauvignon blanc.
“I don’t know how you pass yourself off as a successful real-estate agent,” he mocked gently, swirling the liquid in his glass. “It requires a great deal of risk, yet you balk at taking the small one of asking me a favor? Does it have to do with my work? Do you need an engineer’s perspective on something? A house?”
“I would get that from a construction engineer, wouldn’t I? Not someone with a doctorate in biotechnology. Why does that make you smile? I always have the feeling you’re laughing at me.” From the very first meeting she’d sensed he was—not better than her, but more. More worldly. More experienced.
“I’m not laughing,” he said, amusement hedging his words. “I just like it when you take that tone with me. I hear it when we’re fencing sometimes, and I know it means you’ll give me a fight. That’s the woman capable of closing the million-dollar deals, isn’t it? Why don’t I see her more often?”
“Why don’t I see the technical-manual writer more often?”
“Touché.” He tilted his wineglass. “We all show different personalities for different occasions, don’t we?”
He shows his wild side in the bedroom, not the boardroom, Celine had told Arianne once. It had jump-started Arianne’s curiosity, making her wonder what it was like to possess a wild side. Pretty soon her marriage had seemed tame. Too tame.
She hadn’t known how to change it, though. Telling her husband that she’d like to spice things up would have been the blind leading the oblivious. And it hadn’t seemed worth the potential consequences of looking foolish and perhaps denting her husband’s tender ego. Craig had been a pouter. And she hadn’t thought he’d want to try new things. Craig had been gorgeous, but conservative and very set in his ways. He’d fought her on buying this cottage, calling it too risky.
The purchase had come with grave consequences for both of them, but Arianne had wanted this house very, very badly, and now she had it. That risk had been worth it. She knew how to sell and negotiate and cut a deal. Surely she could channel that for a moment here? For something else she wanted very, very badly?
“You keep spacing out on me.” Jason leaned forward, his long fingers tucking her hair behind her ear. Her pulse rushed to pound in her ears and make her arteries tingle. “Rude of me. I’m sorry.” Her face heated. Below the table she felt the leather of his boot brush the arch of her bare foot.
She withdrew, then could have kicked herself. This was exactly what she was trying to overcome, but his boot felt so male and dominant. It made her heart beat fast. It reminded her she wore only panties, no pantyhose, for the first time. For him, because he didn’t like nylons.
That was something she loved about him, the way he encouraged her to loosen up, telling her women shouldn’t buckle to convention, but wear what they liked. Do what they liked.
When he’d said that, slightly drunk a few months ago, it had been with his hand on her knee. She hadn’t exactly rebuffed the light pass, she just hadn’t known how to react to it. While other girls had been losing their virginity in high school, she’d been helping her father care for her mother. While her twentysomething friends had been perfecting the art of hooking up, she’d been studying for her real-estate license. Now she was divorced, aching in ways she didn’t even know how to describe, but too busy paying her mortgage to get out and date.
How much easier this might be if she had let Jason take her up to the room he’d shared with Celine, but she had been certain it was only the approaching anniversary of their shared humiliation that had prompted his offhand invitation. And she’d known she was no match for him—no competition for Celine. It would have killed her to have him once, only to disappoint him. There was no question she would have. Then she wouldn’t even have their friendly suppers any longer. No, if she truly wanted to win him, she would have to be more woman than she currently was.
She deliberately placed her foot back next to his. She was hyperaware of the slight abrasion against the side of her bare foot and ankle. Heated prickles climbed her calf. Being so forward embarrassed her. She could barely lift her head to see if he noticed.
He betrayed nothing, seemed lost in his thoughts, hardly breathing as he stared into his wineglass.
She caught her breath at how handsome he was with the candlelight throwing shadows across his face now that the sun had set. She was as tongue-tied as she’d been when Celine had introduced herself and her “lover,” Jason, eighteen months ago.
Celine had been as stunning as he was, if not a stark contrast with her fair looks against his black hair and toasted-almond skin. Arianne had wished herself to be as blonde, lithe and given to grace. She didn’t know why she had longed to attract Jason’s notice—not when she had her steady, sturdy husband—but the yearning had been there.
There had been fear, too, of course. She had felt the power of Jason’s potent sexuality and had been both frightened and fascinated, unaccountably shy and wanting to hide behind her husband. Craig had fallen under Celine’s spell in a similar way. The difference was, when the time came, Craig hadn’t been afraid to act on his urges.
“Tell me what you need, Arianne,” Jason said in a husky tone, his gaze lifting. She could have sworn the pressure of his boot against her foot increased, making her blood race in an alarming way.
She needed to stop being so afraid of such feelings. “I want you to introduce me to Dominic.”
~ * ~
This one is coming out with HarlequinE, their digital first line so there's no telling if or when it will come out in print.
Deadline to enter the contest is August 17th. Here's the link to the rules and the entry form:
Meanwhile, I'm still busy promoting my June book, An Heir To Bind Them with a blog tour that includes several giveaway draws. Visit and enter here:
- 21 May - The Reading Frenzy - Interview (Giveaway closed)
- 28 May - Caribbean Accent Book Reviews - The (New) Old World Heroine (Giveaway closed)
- 30 May - Harlequin Blog - Love Babies? & Giveaway
- 30 May - IHeartPresents - Excerpt, An Heir To Bind Them
- 02 Jun - Romancing The Book - Interview & Giveaway
- 02 Jun - iHeartPresents - Great Idea? Or No Idea? & Giveaway
- 02 Jun - Just Contemporary Romance - The Contemporary Woman & Giveaway
- 03 Jun - Crazy Four Books - Four Books, Accidentally & Giveaway
- 05 Jun - Get Lost In A Story - Interview & Giveaway
- 07 Jun - Contemporary Romance Cafe - Worst Writing Advice I've Ever Received & Giveaway
- 08 Jun - Savvy Authors - How To Act Like A Professional Author
- 09 Jun - Harlequin Junkie - Spotlight & Giveaway
Want to skip trying to win one and just buy some of my books? An Heir To Bind Them is on shelves right now and the rest are available for pre-order. Head out to your fave book store or purchase online here:
and these fine retailers have it as well:
That's all for now. Look for a #Thursday13 later this week.