Lily Madsen promised herself that she would never again live up to her reputation as the 'Ice Princess' of Holly Springs.
To prove it, she's got a list of goals that are decidedly un-prissy--not to mention a certain bet Lily's made with some of her friends that says this virgin can seduce a visiting TV star who's in town for only a week. All Lily needs is a little help from her friend Fletcher Hart who just happens to be an animal consultant for the TV show. She needs him to get her on the set.
Fletcher will be damned if he's going to let Lily throw herself at some Hollywood heavy--even if it means placing a wager of his own. The bet? That he can steer Lily away from the arrogant TV star and straight into his arms!
But every wager comes with a price. The question is, are Lily and Fletcher prepared for the consequences?
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August 31, 2007
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Excerpt from The Secret Seduction by Cathy Gillen Thacker
Honestly, Lily Madsen thought as she watched the disheveled "cowboy" climb down from the truck, that man in the snug-fitting jeans, chambray shirt and boots was enough to take your breath away. Or he would have been, she amended, if he hadn't been Fletcher Hart. The most reckless and restless of Helen Hart's five sons, the thirty-year-old Fletcher had a reputation for loving and leaving women and never committing to much of anything--save his thriving Holly Springs, North Carolina, vet practice--for long.
"Why are you being so all-fired difficult?" Lily glared at him and continued the conversation the two of them had started before Fletcher had cut it short and headed off on an emergency call to a nearby farm. "All I am asking for is a simple introduction to Carson McRue. I'll take it the rest of the way."
"I'm sure you will." Fletcher slanted her a deeply cynical look, followed it with a way too knowing half smile, then strode toward the back door of the clinic, all confident indomitable male. "The answer is still no, Lily."
Simmering with a mixture of resentment, anger and another emotion she couldn't quite identify, Lily followed Fletcher into the building, aware that unlike the building, which smelled quite antiseptic, he smelled as if he had been rolling around in the back of a barn. And perhaps he had been, she thought, noting the sweat stains on his shirt, the mud clinging to his backside, knees, shoulders and chest.
Oblivious to her scrutiny of him, he strode purposefully into a glass-walled room. On the other side of the partition was an assortment of cats and dogs in metal cages. All appeared to be recovering from operations or illness and were sleeping or resting drowsily. On their side of the glass wall, there was another large crate with a dog inside who did not appear to have had surgery.
Lily watched as Fletcher hunkered down beside the crate and peered in. To her frustration, he seemed a lot more interested in his canine patient, than what she had to say to him. "Just what is your objection to my meeting the man anyway?" she demanded with all the authority she could muster, given the five years' difference in their ages.
Fletcher paused to give a comforting pat to the ailing yellow lab, who looked up at him with big sad eyes, before straightening once again. "Besides the fact that he's an egotistical TV star who doesn't care about anyone but himself, you mean?" Fletcher challenged.
Lily huffed her exasperation and folded her arms in front of her, trying all the while not to notice how soft and touchable Fletcher's shaggy honey-brown hair was, how sexy his golden-brown eyes. You would think the way Fletcher acted that he was the star of a hit TV show, instead of a local vet who was--as always--in need of a haircut. Just because he had a masculine chiseled face, with the don't-mess-with-me Hart jaw, expressive, kissable lips, a strong nose and well-defined cheekbones, did not mean that she had to swoon at his feet. And the same went for his powerful, six-foot-one frame, with those broad shoulders, impossibly solid chest, lean waist and long, muscular legs.
"You don't know that for sure," she retorted defensively, privately hoping it wasn't true. "Just because Carson McRue is rich and famous--"
Fletcher headed up the stairs that led to his apartment on the second floor, unbuttoning his filthy shirt as he went. Lily was right behind him. "Let's just cut the bull, shall we?"
He stopped at the top of the stairs and stripped off his shirt, leaving Lily with a bird's-eye view of lots of satiny smooth male skin, a T-shaped mat of goldenbrown hair, six-pack abs and a belly button so sexy it was to die for. With effort, she dragged her glance away from his hip-hugging jeans and American Veterinary Medical Association belt buckle, before she could really give in to temptation and slide her glance lower to see what was behind that tightly shut zipper.
Oblivious to the licentious direction of her thoughts, Fletcher continued mocking her with thinly veiled contempt. "I know about the bet you made with all your friends. Okay, Lily? Everyone in town does."
While Fletcher watched, embarrassed color crept to her cheeks. Lily gulped her dismay. She never should have indulged in such bold talk at her birthday party last week. But then she never should have let her friends talk her into having two margaritas with her enchiladas, either. Everyone knew she couldn't hold her liquor. The closest she had ever gotten to drinking was the smidgen of creme de menthe her grandmother had let them have in their milk every Christmas Eve.
Alcohol had been one of many things her beloved grandmother Rose had not approved. And knowing how badly her own parents had disappointed Grandmother Rose, Lily had grown up never wanting to similarly let her down.