Lust was the lure, Candy was the reward.
Walking around with a raging hard-on isn't Blade Vaughn's idea of a good time. He's hungry for sex and there's only one woman on his menu: Candice Warner. When Blade witnesses the shy beauty go into a panic over a harmless encounter, he's more determined than ever to prove that sex with him is just the therapy she needs.
Candice is used to being afraid of her own shadow, but when she goes all nutso in front of Blade, she's beyond mortified. She wants him to see her as an equal, and as a woman. It's time she got over her past trauma and started living again.
But trust is hard to come by when her only experience with men has left her heart in pieces.
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June 23, 2008
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Excerpt from Tasting Candy by Anne Rainey
Candice hadn't been intimate with a flesh-and-blood man for a year. What if she panicked? What if she was too clumsy to keep a man like Blade interested? She groaned and worried and fidgeted in the seat of Blade's truck as he drove them back to her place.
He'd probably been with countless women. She was positive none of them had their throats close up at the mere thought of sex. But Blade was so careful with her, so easy and gentle to be around. And he'd emphatically promised to stop if she was uncomfortable. Besides she wasn't the vulnerable, na�ve woman she'd been with Lance. She could take care of herself now. Jackie thought she was ready, and her defense instructor had told her she was a quick study. Even Lacey had offered her own thumbs-up, saying Blade was a man of his word. If he told her he'd go slow, then she could darn well count on it. The time had come for Candice to believe in herself.
But as they pulled into her drive, all her newfound courage fled. "Blade, I'm not sure about this."
Blade turned in the seat, smiling in that wicked way he had. "Relax, sweetheart. We aren't going in there and getting naked." He looked down at himself and laughed. "Besides I didn't come prepared for sex. We're just going to do some over-the-clothes stuff. Getting used to each other, remember?" She nodded, and Blade's brow quirked up as he whispered, "Next time, if you ask me very nicely, we'll do more."
Just like that, Candice's reservations fled and she found herself once again feeling safe. "I'm sorry." She covered her face and blurted, "I feel like the biggest tease in the world, pulling you back and forth constantly."
Blade pried her hands away from her face. "You're not jerking me around, Candy girl. I knew this was going to take some time. You're worth all the time in the world."
Candice searched Blade's face for signs of frustration, but she found none. He appeared as if he did indeed have all the time in the world. She sighed heavily, glad he wasn't going to push.
Blade opened the truck door and stepped out, telling her to stay put until he could help her down. Candice was in too big a hurry to wait. She had to practically jump to get out of the truck, because it, like him, was huge. Her legs shook so bad up the walk, she stumbled once. Blade's hand at the small of her back steadied her enough to get to the front door. Once inside, she excused herself to go to the bathroom, while he fetched a couple of cold drinks. When she came back, she found Blade on the couch with two ice-cold colas on the end table and his eyes closed.
He'd stretched his long, lean legs out in front of him and his head lay against the back of the couch. Had he fallen asleep? After such a long day and then the cookout, it was selfish to keep him when he should be in bed.
Careful not to disturb him, she sat on the couch next to Blade and watched him in silence. He really was quite handsome, in a roguish pirate sort of way. In the soft light of the small table lamp, his dark hair shone with flecks of silver. It was a little too long by today's standards, and his mustache was a bit shaggy. He had something of a weathered look from all the hours he'd spent working in the sun, and, oh God, he was so very sexy. Candice was thrilled he was with her and not some other woman tonight. If she had to pick a man to help break her out of her self-imposed isolation, Blade Vaughn was one heck of a choice. Maybe another night... A night when he wasn't so beat up and exhausted from work.
She started to wake him and send him on his way when the deep timbre of his voice broke the silence in the dimly lit room. "You're beautiful, Candice. I hope you know that."
He'd been awake! "Why you sneak!" she admonished, trying not to be so glad about it. "You weren't asleep at all, were you?"
Blade grinned good-naturedly. "Actually, I did get tired, sitting on your comfy couch waiting for you to come out of that bathroom." He leaned closer to her. "I thought I'd been abandoned. Like maybe you'd climbed out a window or something," he teased.
Instinctively, Candice inhaled his musky male scent, nearly quivering in anticipation of the evening that was still to come. "Oh," she murmured.
"You weren't thinking of abandoning me were you, Candy girl?" Blade asked, his voice as seductive as a lover's touch and twice as potent.
"Well, you have had a long day, and I was starting to feel very selfish, keeping you awake so late. You should be in bed asleep."
"If I was at home in bed right now, I'd still be kept awake by you," Blade growled. "In fact, a lot of my nights have been pretty restless lately due to unrequited lust."
She blushed at his words, even as honesty forced her to admit, "Maybe not so unrequited. Remember, I told you, I've been dreaming of you, too, Blade."
He gave her a feral, possessive smile. "Yeah, and we'll get to that, I promise. But first, there's this..." He leaned in the rest of the way and kissed her. This time it wasn't so fleeting or barely-there.