Playing With Seduction. Reese Ryan

Playing With Seduction - Reese Ryan

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such a big deal? Do you have a serious thing for him or something?”

      “No.” Even to her ears, her response sounded like that of a tween in denial, punctuated by an unladylike snort. Her mother would be so proud.

      Bex paused, which told Bree that she heard her unconvincing denial, but chose to ignore it. “Then no harm, no foul. Certainly nothing worth giving up this opportunity. You could become the face of the hottest new beach volleyball event on the East Coast. Besides, Westbrook International Luxury Resorts is a worldwide organization. This could be the beginning of spreading your brand. Our brand. So don’t wuss out on me.”

      Bree gritted her teeth and stared out onto the water. A huge wave licked the shore, the chilly waters chasing away a toy Pomeranian. “Okay, fine. I’ll figure out how to deal with it. With him.”

      “That a girl. Whatever it takes. Just like on the court. Got it?”

      Bree chucked the truffle she was about to open back into its box and nodded. “Got it. Whatever it takes.”

      She talked to Bex for another half hour, getting an update on her injured shoulder and her hot new physical therapist before finally ending the call. Bree changed into a pair of yoga pants, a T-shirt and a sweater. She stepped out onto the back deck and inhaled the salty ocean breeze. It was sixty-two degrees out. A fairly warm day for early February.

      She flopped onto the chaise and tried to remember her friend’s words. They hadn’t slept together. So why was she still so pissed at him?

      Because she’d wanted to sleep with him. God, she’d wanted to. She’d fantasized about it in the wee hours of the morning, when she couldn’t shake the memory of his kiss from her brain.

      She shuddered, remembering the touch of his hand when she’d been all but obligated to shake it and make up that story about why she was upset with him. There was some truth to the story.

      A slight smile played on Bree’s lips as she remembered their argument about what football team had a chance of winning the Super Bowl. She just left out the part where he’d asked her to come back to his place. Bree had turned him down. He smiled, his eyes filled with understanding. Then he gave her the sweetest kiss. Sweet and innocent, yet filled with the promise of passionate nights ahead. They’d only spent a few hours together, but he’d managed to make the kiss feel meaningful. Real.

      Real enough that she’d stared at her phone for a week afterward, waiting for him to call. Like he’d promised after their kiss.

      Her response that night kept replaying in her head. Sorry, but I’m not that kind of girl. She laughed bitterly. True, she wasn’t the kind of girl who normally believed in one-night stands. In fact, she wasn’t the kind of girl who got laid at all. Not for a very long time. Not since...

      She tried to erase the memory of the scornful mouth and hard, dark eyes she’d once found so intriguing. Sexy even. She’d been wrong about that asshole. Apparently, she’d been just as wrong about Wesley Adams.

      The man was handsome and tall with warm brown skin. An athletic body that had felt incredible pressed against hers on the dance floor. And a killer smile. One worthy of a toothpaste commercial. He had the straightest, most brilliant teeth she’d ever seen.

      And she loved his laugh, which he employed often. Because he was funny. And smart. And he liked sports. Just like she did. But he wasn’t intimidated because she was knowledgeable about sports and full of opinions she readily shared. He was the kind of guy she could see herself spending time with on those lonely nights she actually got to spend in her own bed back in Huntington Beach.

      Wes was the kind of guy she wanted to spend more than one night with, so she’d turned down his offer to go back to his place.

      She’d gone to the pub with Bex that night, determined to crawl out of all the insecurities that rumbled around in her head, barely leaving elbow room for her own thoughts.

      She went to The Alley that night, intending to take someone back to her hotel. Just once she wanted to be a little naughty. To shed the good-girl image she’d worked so hard to perfect over the past two decades.

      She was the scholarship kid who struggled to fit in at a private school, terrified that the kids would find out she lived in the run-down projects. Two of the front stairs missing and not a single blade of grass on their “lawn.”

      She’d spent the past ten years creating her image as the perfect spokesperson. A successful player with a feel-good story and the kind of good-girl image that garnered endorsements and kept them. Not the kind of girl who would stroll into a club and pick up a random guy for the night.

      In the end, she hadn’t turned him down to protect her shiny, good-girl reputation. She politely turned down his offer because she liked him.

      Really liked him.

      So she gambled on there being another night between them. Only there wasn’t. Bree was angry at Wes for not keeping his promise. She was angry with herself for not taking him up on his offer.

      Bree drew her legs against her chest, wrapping her arms around them. If she was going to be working with Wes Adams for the next six months, she’d have to start thinking with her brain, not her libido. And she couldn’t behave like a jilted lover.

      Her heart fluttered, just thinking about how her hand felt in his, even for a moment. A glowing warmth arose through her fingers, making its way to her chest.

      She put her head on her knees and sighed.

      Letting go of her silly crush on Wes would be easier said than done.

       Chapter 2

      Wes rang Liam’s cell four times.

      No answer.

      His best friend was definitely dodging him. It was probably best. He had a few choice words for Liam. No way it had just slipped his mind to mention that he’d selected Bree Evans to work on this project, too.

      Not that Bree wasn’t the ideal person to front an annual sports-and-music festival with the potential to be a huge draw for the resort. She was.

      Bree was one of the top beach volleyball players in the world. One of the few players of color to gain endorsements and a huge following. She was genuinely nice. Frequently participated in charity events. And the camera loved her.

      Every single inch of her. A gorgeous smile. A curvy frame anchored by her voluptuous breasts and an ass that would give any red-blooded man reason to adjust his trousers. Long legs. Strong, lean thighs. Undulating hips.

      Wes scrubbed a hand down his face. Sitting there recounting the finer points of Bree’s physique wasn’t a productive use of his time, or a very good way to maintain his sanity. He glanced over at the wall that separated their units. Tried not to wonder what she was doing. If she’d slipped out of the thigh-hugging black dress she wore at the meeting.

      He’d like to think she’d worn it for him. The surprise on her lovely face meant she clearly hadn’t. Wes shook his head and sighed. Liam couldn’t dodge him forever. In the meantime, he had business of his own to handle.

      Wes grabbed the key to the loaner car Liam left for him and headed to the front door. Time to go home.

      * * *

      The gravel crunched in the driveway of the old bungalow his grandmother once owned. His mother had left England five years ago and returned to North Carolina to take care of his grandmother, who had taken a tumble down the narrow stairs and broken a hip. After his grandmother passed, his mother decided to stay in her childhood home. A home that held lots of memories for him, too.

      Wes stepped out of the red Dodge Challenger with black leather. The loaner was another enticement from Liam to take on the project. Perhaps also an apology before the fact for springing Bree Evans on him without warning. He shut the door and headed up the driveway. There was no answer, so he knocked. Twice.

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