In her novel Wilde Thing and novella "The Wilde One" from Bad Boys To Go, USA Today bestselling author Janelle Denison introduced two of the Wilde brothers--men who live up to their names in every respect. Now, get to know the tempting Scott Wilde. . .and discover why being bad can feel so very good. . .
The last thing hotel heiress Ashley St. Claire wants for her thirtieth birthday is another boring set-up with a stuffed shirt with dollar signs in his eyes. Before settling down, Ashley wants one hot, erotic night with a man who'll let her be as shameless as she dares. A man like the one giving her body a long, slow appraisal at the bar and making no attempt to hide the fact that he likes what he sees. . .
It's bad manners to refuse a lady. And construction company owner Scott Wilde fully intends to oblige the stunning creature who has just asked him to be her birthday present. But he's unprepared for the way that raw passion leads to something much deeper. Ashley may be running scared, but Scott's got stamina. . .and he's determined to show Ashley just how delicious a lifetime of passion can be if she's willing to take a walk on the Wilde side with him. . .
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June 30, 2005
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Excerpt from The Wilde Side by Janelle Denison
"Happy thirtieth birthday, Ashley. Make a wish and blow out your candles."
Make a wish... three beguiling words that tempted Ashley St. Claire to seek her heart's desire. To make a provocative, erotic wish unlike any she'd ever made before, then make it come true.
Sitting at a private window table at The Metropolitan Club, an elite, fine dining establishment located on the sixty-sixth floor of the Sears Tower in downtown Chicago, Ashley glanced from the cake in front of her to the guests at her table. She was surrounded by the people she loved the most for her celebratory dinner--her parents, her younger sister Madison and her husband, and their six-month-old baby girl, Sophie.
The only one present who wasn't a blood relative was Evan Monterra, the man her father, Charles, had made president and CEO of the St. Claire Hotel chain when he'd retired from the business two years ago. But still, Evan was treated as part of her family, like the son that Charles and Georgia St. Claire never had.
Make a wish. Again, that naughty little voice inside her head beckoned Ashley to shed the conservative, practical facade she'd lived by the past three years and be daring and adventurous: to give in to the sexual needs invading her dreams at night that left her breathless and aching for the touch of a man's hands, instead of her own, sliding over her aroused body.
That was her wish.
Her family was happy, healthy, and wealthy, so there was no sense asking for things they already possessed. Her parents had given her a ten-karat diamond tennis bracelet to commemorate the milestone of her turning the "big 3-0," and she'd spent the day with her sister, Madison, at the Genacelli Spa getting massaged, plucked, waxed, and pampered. Then they'd gotten their hair and nails done and gone shopping on Michigan Avenue for a few new outfits.
Her life as a St. Claire was good, if not a bit staid and predictable, and she'd never lacked for anything...except a man in her life who didn't have ulterior motives, unlike her ex-boyfriend, Greg Derryn, who'd seen her as a profitable commodity and had attempted to blackmail her with a possible scandal that could have tarnished her family's name and standing in the community.
Ashley would be forever grateful her father had met the other man's outrageous monetary demands, which had saved her and her parents from public humiliation. The entire scene had been a lesson well learned, but had left her cautious and guarded with men she didn't know, afraid to trust her own instincts and wary of their reasons behind their interest in her.
Even the select men she'd opted to date since that incident were more drawn to her family's fortune and how it could improve their own standing in their social circle, as well as what kind of opportunities the St. Claire name might provide for them. Those she'd met in passing or in a casual setting were equally fascinated with her wealth once they discovered who she was--an heiress to the St. Claire fortune--instead of the woman inside.
Out of frustration and disgust, she'd taken herself off the market, much to her parents' dismay since they'd made no secret of wanting her to get married and settle down with a family like her sister had. Preferably to someone who'd fit well into the family. Someone like Evan Monterra, the good-looking, respectable man sitting next to her father at the table.
She'd also remained celibate for much too long, for fear of putting herself in the same kind of situation she had with Greg, and instead poured all her energy into work, traveling from Chicago to New York to San Francisco managing the exclusive boutiques in her family's hotels.
But lately, she couldn't deny that she was feeling a restless yearning to break free of the chaste, good-girl mold that had become such an ingrained part of her life the past few years. She was itching to embrace the sensual, daring woman inside who secretly wanted to disregard rules of propriety, along with her affluent last name, and take a walk on the wilder, unrefined side of society for just one night.
Apparently, it was time to shatter her vow of abstinence.
"Come on, Ash," her sister urged from across the table as six-month-old Sophie blew a raspberry Ashley's way. "Hurry up and make a wish before your candles melt and make a mess of the cake."
"Hold your horses, Maddie," Ashley teased, then smiled at her cherub-faced niece, whom she adored. "This is a big one, and I want to make sure I get it right."
And then, finally, she closed her eyes and made her birthday wish. What she desired most of all was a hot, unforgettable night with a sexy bad boy who'd let her be as uninhibited and naughty as she dared--a stranger who had no idea who she was and couldn't threaten her reputation or touch her emotions. She wanted to seduce and be seduced and experience the thrill and excitement of giving in to lust and pure physical attraction without the doubts or second thoughts that had kept her too virtuous since Greg's blackmail attempt.
Tonight, as a gift to herself on her thirtieth birthday, she'd make her wish come true. And come the morning, with a wealth of sensual memories to look fondly back on, and no one the wiser, she'd return to being Ashley St. Claire: the older, reliable sister; the proper, responsible daughter she'd vowed to her parents to be; and the efficient, sophisticated woman who managed the boutiques for the St. Claire hotels.
She blew out the candles, and everyone clapped and cheered their good wishes for a happy birthday. Her father motioned their waiter over to cut and serve the cake, and they spent the next half hour eating the dessert while Madison regaled the family about their day at the spa and how much fun they'd had together. Before long, Sophie decided she was done being happy for the evening and started to get fussy, and not even her daddy's tickling could make her smile or giggle.
"It's after seven, and she's getting tired," Madison said as she pulled a bottle of formula out of the diaper bag and gave it to the little girl before she could start howling for her drink. "I think we should take her home."
Madison's husband, Adam Montgomery, nodded in agreement. "It's getting close to her bedtime."
From across the table, Ashley caught her sister giving her husband a look of longing as they both stood up and gathered their things. It was as if Madison was gazing at Adam, seeking something from him she desperately wanted but couldn't have.
Which made no sense to Ashley since Madison and Adam were such a perfect couple, blessed with a great marriage, a beautiful daughter, and the kind of close, intimate relationship Ashley envied. Adam was brown-haired and green-eyed handsome, he came from a wealthy, prominent family and worked with his brother and father in their investment firm, and he fit in so well with her family. Also, he'd always adored Madison, and it was evident that he was equally smitten with Sophie.