Stealing Rose


Bantam
March 3, 2015
Series:
People say the youngest child has it easy, but nothing can be further from the truth. Unlike my two sisters, Violet and Lily, I’m never in the limelight. I just work my butt off for Fleur Cosmetics and get little to no thanks for it. I’ve been pushed too far one too many times, and I’m finally brave enough to do something about it. Maybe my newfound courage has something to do with the amazing pink and white diamond necklace I wear to the party in Cannes. The instant those dazzling heirloom jewels touch my skin, they excite some deep, aching need inside. And when that guy—that totally gorgeous guy—locks eyes with me, I know this nice girl is going to be naughty. For once it’s my turn. My turn to say no to my father, to outshine my sisters, to walk away from it all—straight into the arms of a mysterious stranger. But what if Caden is much more than I bargained for? Sure, he makes me feel sexy and free in a way I never have before, but there’s something else I can’t quite place—something dangerous. Maybe our “chance” meeting wasn’t so random. Maybe he was looking for me for a reason. Whatever his motive, there’s no going back now. And maybe I don’t want to.
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Reviews

"Mesmerizing characters, stellar writing, sexy as sin: Just WOW!”
~ Monique at Fresh Fiction


Excerpt

In a few minutes, the woman will notice her bracelet is gone, if she hasn’t already. Just beyond the pool is the beach, and I’ll walk among the shadows close to the line of palm trees before I cut through one of the hotels down the way, where I can make my escape. Hopefully no one will notice me.

But I barely make it past the pool when I hear a familiar voice.

“Well, well, if it isn’t my savior.”

Slowing my pace, I turn to find Rose sitting on the edge of a lounge chair near the pool, her shoulders hunched and those long, sexy-as-fuck legs spread wide so they’re both bare, the long slits in her skirt revealing them. An empty glass dangles from one hand and a bottle of Champagne hangs from the other.

She offers a smirk of a smile, her delicate brows rising in some sort of challenge. Someone already looks a little drunk. We haven’t been apart longer than fifteen minutes. Twenty, tops.

Slowly I approach her, telling myself I’m an idiot for even stopping. “Drinking alone?”

The smile grows and it lights up her entire face. “Something I rarely do, but yes. I am. Unless you’d care to join me.”

I don’t. I do. I’m torn.

“And if you don’t, I understand.” She waves me away, then brings the bottle to her lips and takes a swig. She sets the bottle on the ground beside her and then reaches forward, slipping her strappy little sandals off one foot, then the other. “They were killing me,” she mutters, rubbing the bottom of her foot.

I watch in fascination as she bends over her feet, offering me a spectacular view of her cleavage. Her breasts are full and if the front of her dress slips down any farther, I’ll catch a glimpse of nipple. “Maybe you should slow down . . .” I start to say, but she pops up to her feet, throwing her arms above her head as she starts to spin in a circle, her frothy skirts flowing around her.

“I don’t want to slow down. I always slow down and that’s so incredibly boring.” She drops her arms and looks up at me, her eyes sparkling, an almost manic expression on her face. “I think I want to swim.”

Without another word she walks over to the pool and stares at the water, her bare toes curling around the edge of the pavers that surround the pool. A warm breeze washes over us and she tilts her head back, her eyes sliding closed as she throws her arms out to her sides and holds them palms up.

“Have you ever done something reckless?” she asks, her voice soft.

All the fucking time. “Have you?”

She opens her eyes and looks over at me. “I asked first,” she says before she resumes her position.

“Yeah. Haven’t we all?”

“No. Not me, not really. I may act all tough, like I take no crap, but that’s all it is. An act. I prefer things to be safe. I don’t like to take risks. And I am definitely not reckless.” She drops her arms to her sides for the briefest moment before she’s reach­ing under her arm and unzipping the dress. The top gaps, reveal­ing nothing but bare skin and that she’s not wearing a bra.

Christ.

As the dress falls away from her body and lands in a heap at her feet, I realize she’s not wearing any panties, either. She’s standing in front of me completely naked—the Poppy Necklace like a glittering, expensive collar around her neck—and my mouth goes dry as I drink her in. My entire body stirs, including my cock, and I lick my lips, fighting the hunger that threatens to take over.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been with a woman. Longer still since I felt so attracted to one. And I am definitely, without a fucking doubt, attracted to Rose Fowler.

A tiny, sly smile curls her lush lips as I stare at her, as if she can read my thoughts and approves of their direction. And then without a word, she dives into the pool, hardly making a splash.

I watch in fascination when moments later she pops her head up, treading water. “You should join me.”

The absolute last thing I can do. “I don’t think so.”

“Aw, why not?” She mock pouts. “Scared of the water?”

“No.”

“Scared of me?” She laughs.

“Not at all.”

“Then join me.” She smiles and swims closer to the edge, standing in the water where it reaches her waist. Her skin is covered with little droplets of water; her pale pink nipples are hard, and my cock is, too.

Rubbing a hand over my face, I grit my teeth together and slip my other hand in the pocket of my suit jacket, fingering the cool stones stashed away inside. “I can’t.”

Her expression turns solemn and she lifts her arms, smooth­ing back her hair. The movement lifts her breasts, showing off the dip in her waist, the sleekness of her belly. Jesus, her body will be the fucking death of me. “Are you gay or what?”

I laugh and shake my head. “No.”

She drops her arms so they splash in the water, frustration written all over her features. “Then why won’t you join me?”

A burst of sound comes from the building behind us and I turn to see a group of partygoers spill out onto the terrace, led by the woman whose bracelet is currently resting in my pocket. Shit. “Come here,” I urge her, reaching out for her hands with both of mine.

Rose frowns. “You can’t lift me out of the pool.”

“Watch me.” I wave my fingers at her, then scan the area, my gaze returning to the terrace. The group of people is still there, milling about, though they haven’t come down the stairs yet. But it’s only a matter of time before they’ll be looking for me, and I swear I can hear the woman commanding everyone about in her very loud, very shrill French. “Come on.” I return my attention to Rose, who’s still contemplating me as if I’ve lost my mind, which I probably have. “Hurry.”

She takes my hands and I pull her out of the pool since she doesn’t weigh a damn thing, setting her on her feet directly in front of me. She’s dripping wet and I let my gaze roam all over her perfect body, memorizing her every feature so I can commit her to memory and pull this moment out for later. “What are you doing?”

Before I can overthink it I grab her, my arm clamping tight around her slender waist, my hand sprawled across one perfect ass cheek. Her skin is damp and soft and chilled from the water and I give her plump flesh a firm squeeze, savoring the gasp that escapes her when I touch her like that.

“Kiss me for luck,” I whisper as my head descends toward hers. She’s frowning, her gaze landing on my lips, watching as I make my descent until her lids flutter closed and I press my mouth to hers in a lingering, chaste kiss.

She steps closer and rests her hands on my chest and I break the kiss first. Opening my eyes to drink in this naked, wet nymph pressed against me, her skin pale and gleaming in the moonlight. I touch the necklace, tracing the stones, wishing like crazy I could snatch it from her neck. The necklace is perfection. It’s a rare piece, expensive and exquisitely made, and it’s killing me to have it so close and knowing I can’t have it.

Yet.

Her chest lifts on a deep inhale, making my gaze drop to her breasts, and my finger falls as if I have no control, circling around her left pink nipple once. Only once. It’s the single indul­gence I’ll allow myself and it’s fucking torture, touching her like this, feeling the little nub of flesh tighten, hearing her sharp in­hale, scenting her arousal. I’d much rather take it farther and draw that perfect little nipple into my mouth and suck. Hard. Run my hands and lips and tongue all over her body until she’s begging me to fuck her.

But I don’t do any of that. Instead, I tell her solemnly, “Thank you,” and I kiss her again, deeper this time, my tongue sliding against hers for the briefest, most mind-numbing moment be­fore I pull away, releasing my hold on her. I start to back away, regret taking hold and making me feel like an asshole.

I am an asshole. There’s no denying that fact.

“Thank you for what?” she asks when she opens her eyes. She brings her arms up, covering her breasts, looking incredibly vulnerable standing by the edge of the glowing turquoise pool, naked and wet and trembling. The lights from the city are bright as they surround us; I can hear the sounds of the sea, the clank of the boats that are docked nearby.

All the while, the necklace sparkles around her neck like a beacon, mocking me. Driving me to distraction. I stare at it. Stare at her. That’s what I want. Her. And the necklace. But I can’t have either.

I can’t have both.

“For giving me a night I’ll never forget,” I tell her before I turn.

And leave her behind. Never once looking back.

No matter how much it kills me.