Table of Contents
Acclaim for Janice Maynard
The Perfect Ten
“If you . . . like your romance lovin’ hot, emotion-driven, and often, Maynard delivers in spades. Her novels are great choices when you’re looking for a read to sweeten up your day—or spice up your night.” —LifetimeTV.com
“Treat yourself to a great read as the three cousins each find their own Perfect Ten.” —A Romance Review
"A Perfect 10 all the way!” —RRTErotic
“Witty and provocative.” —
Affaire de Coeur
"Fast reading and quite sexy.” —
“Sassy and delicious.” —A Romance Review
“Sweet and sexy all at once.” —CK
S Kwips and Kritiques
Play with Me
“Passion + Fun =
Play With Me
. Janice Maynard delivers . . . By the end . . . three women’s secret fantasies come true, and readers will be left wanting another provocative tale.” —Erin McCarthy
“For the reader looking for hot, explicit sensuality, with tons of happy endings and good character development,
Play with Me
delivers. ” —TwoLips Reviews
"Sweet, indeed. Romantic, entertaining, and sexy enough to leave you wanting more!” —Lori Foster
"All three novellas feature likeable characters in sensuous scenarios. What sets Maynard’s work apart from others in this genre is that she develops her characters and plot lines to the extent that the reader cares about what happens outside of the bedroom as well as within it.” —
“Heated and passionate.” —The Best Reviews
Praise for Janice Maynard’s other erotic romances
“Spicy, sweet success.” —
"Sizzling heat and a creative story line.” —Romance Reviews Today
“Readers will be caught up in the story from page one.”
“The plot is carefully crafted, characters fully developed, and the level of writing is superb.” —A Romance Review
“Janice Maynard did a great job with this story, and I’ll definitely be looking for more of her work.” —Fallen Angel Reviews
ALSO BY JANICE MAYNARD
The Perfect Ten
Play with Me
Published by New American Library, a division of
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street,
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Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
First published by Signet Eclipse, an imprint of New American Library,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
First Printing, July 2008
Copyright © Janice Maynard, 2008
All rights reserved
SIGNET ECLIPSE and logo are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA:
By appointment only / Janice Maynard.
eISBN : 978-1-436-23077-3
Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
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To Emily Sylvan Kim . . .
A good agent is as difficult to find as the perfect pair of jeans! I’m grateful that you and I are such an excellent “fit.” ☺
I appreciate your enthusiasm for my work, your eye for a good story line, and the talent you bring to the business. May we share many more projects down the road.
A very special thank-you to my friend Wood! Your expertise in the field of civil engineering was invaluable. Any mistakes that ended up in the final manuscript are all mine.
I’m sure that if you had designed Hadrian’s Wall, it would still be standing today. ☺
Even minus the requisite white wedding dress, the woman fleeing down the front steps of a large, imposing church in downtown Orlando had a definite
vibe thing going on. Morgan Webber was minding his own business as he strolled along the sidewalk when she literally slammed into his shoulder, threatening to send them both crashing to the pavement.
Only his bulk and her quick footwork saved them. She tossed out a muttered apology, evaded his grasp, and darted out into the street. He watched aghast, wincing at the cacophony of blaring horns and screeching brakes, as she danced between the vehicles.
When she made it safely to the opposite curb, he actually glanced over his shoulder expecting to see a distraught groom in hot pursuit. But at the top of the steps, the sturdy oak doors, both decorated with large white ribbons, remained firmly closed.
Two things kept him from going on about his business. The first was simple curiosity. He sensed a drama in the making. But the second reason was even more compelling. The brief physical encounter smacked him square in the chest with a powerful sexual attraction.
His mystery lady was tall and slender and had masses of wavy brown hair that bounced and tumbled on her shoulders. Even when she wasn’t in a dead run, he suspected that her extravagant hair would seem alive with the current of energy she exuded.
While he watched, bemused, she unlocked a fuchsia Kia, rummaged in the glove compartment, and backed out of the car to do a reverse dash, once again ignoring the irate motorists who tried to keep from killing her.
As she retraced her route, he jogged up the church steps close on her heels, compelled by an urgency that was probably only a reflection of hers. But he ran anyway, unwilling to miss the next act in this unfolding mystery.
By the time he stepped into the cool, dimly lit church, his fleet-footed, graceful gazelle was kneeling beside a tiny, gray-headed, supine female, opening the woman’s mouth and tucking a small pill beneath her tongue. A minister and a rail-thin, octogenarian groom hovered helplessly nearby along with a bald, middle-aged fellow who was apparently the best man.
Morgan held his breath unconsciously until the old lady’s eyes fluttered and opened. She looked up at her rescuer. “Stupid angina. Damn it, Hannah, my girl. What took you so long?”
In the flurry of nervous laughter that followed, Morgan allowed himself a closer inspection of the female who seemed to be in entire control of the situation.
Hannah grinned down at the small, elderly bride. “Sorry, Miss Beverly. Next time let’s leave those pills in your pocket.”
Beverly snorted as she allowed herself to be lifted to her feet. “No next time about it. This is my last trip down the aisle.”
Morgan lingered in the back of the church while the abruptly aborted wedding service continued. Shafts of sunlight filtered through massive stained-glass windows, painting Hannah with a rainbow of soft colors. Her generous lips curved in a smile as she watched the older couple repeat their vows.
If she knew Morgan watched her, she made no sign. But surely she must have sensed his intense absorption. He felt almost dizzy from the force of his heart pounding in his chest. He told himself it was the leftover adrenaline from thinking she would be hit by a car at any second.
But the truth was, he’d been the one to be metaphorically knocked on his ass. And he was in imminent danger of appearing to be a stalker and a wedding crasher at that. So he slipped into a pew at the rear of the sanctuary and sat quietly until the ceremony reached its conclusion.
There was no recessional, merely lots of hugs and congratulations and then finally a deep, resonant silence when the bride and groom, minister, and best man disappeared through a hallway at the side of the chancel area.
Now, only his Julia Roberts look-alike remained. She turned as if on cue and their eyes met. She was smiling, but it was a mocking smile. Whether she directed it at herself or at him, he couldn’t tell. He rose to his feet and walked toward her. After a split second, she moved as well.
They met in the middle of the church. She cocked her head, her sultry lips and wide-lashed eyes, brown he saw now, making him sweat beneath his dress shirt. He’d had a meeting with the suits at the bank earlier, hence his unusual attire in the middle of a workday. He much preferred the shorts and boots he wore on the job.
Though he topped six feet by a couple of inches, she was tall for a woman, and their lips were in touching distance. That odd thought shook him even more, and he swallowed against a dry throat.
Her ivory slip dress clung to her fit body and begged for a man’s touch. Finally she took pity on his mute state. “Do I know you?”
Her husky alto took what was left of the starch in his knees. He shook his head, trying to clear it. “No. But seeing a woman nearly run over . . . twice . . . tends to grab a man’s attention.”
She lifted a hand to his chin, shocking the crap out of him. Her long, slim fingers brushed his jaw in a brief caress that made note of the slight stubble she found. He’d been up at five a.m. to shave and dress, and it was now midafternoon.
When her hand fell away slowly, he forced himself not to grab for it. She lifted one perfectly shaped eyebrow. “Your name?”
He forced the words past the lump in his throat. “Morgan Webber.”
She observed him like an exhibit in a museum, as if by analyzing his form she could come to some conclusions about his identity or his motives or even his moral character. Then her eyes lit with a combination of mischief and outrageous bravado. “Can I do anything for you?” she drawled, the words dripping with sexual overtones.
He studied her mouth with rapt fascination. “You could marry me,” he said, only half joking.
She lifted an eyebrow. “I’m afraid I don’t think much of that venerable institution.”
He frowned. “And yet here you are.”
She shrugged, the epitome of haughty sophistication. “I don’t impose my views on others.” Then her naughty smile returned. “I’m assuming you have no desire to kiss the real bride, so perhaps I’ll do as a substitute.”
And then she wrapped her slim arms around his neck, found his mouth with hers, and proceeded, like some ancient sorceress, to steal his heart away.
He sucked in a startled breath and managed to get with the program in a split second. She tasted like whipped cream and coffee, and her body in his arms was all curves and slippery silk and sensuous woman.
Though his boner was perhaps a foregone conclusion, he would have liked to disguise its importunate presence. But his stunning playmate was having none of that. She nudged her hips against his, making both of them tremble. Her tongue whispered and fluttered on his.