Guilty pleasures can heat the coldest winter night...
A Red Hot Winter story.
There's never been any question in Rachel Ashberg's mind. Jackson Brooks is the one, and they both know it. The problem? Thanks to his unbreakable rule--never date his twin sister's friends--he's completely off-limits. Even if they can't imagine being with anyone else.
It's been over two years since their last encounter, when they gave in--just once--to their passion. Now, as the Brooks twins' milestone birthday approaches, Rachel and Jackson are about to meet again at a gorgeous mountain resort. Needing something to take the edge off the desire that has never faded, she indulges in a fling with sexy stranger Garreth Halt. He even makes her forget Jackson for a while. Or...maybe not.
When she mentions Jackson's name in passing, Garreth picks up on all the hidden undertones in her voice. And he brings Jackson into their bed, if only in a fantasy they play out together. Funny thing about Garreth's fantasies, though. Even the most improbable, impossible ones have a way of becoming reality...
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January 04, 2011
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Excerpt from Winter Fire by Jess Dee
"It's good to escape from the city for a while though. Isn't it beautiful here?"
He grinned at her. "Let's just say the mountains became a whole lot more interesting in the last few minutes..."
She laughed out loud. "You really are flirting, aren't you?" And was she ever responding. A tingling awareness flowed through her, an open recognition of the energy that crackled between them.
"Is it working?" he drawled earnestly.
She pretended to think about her answer. No need for him to know just yet that her belly was already quivering in anticipation. "I'm not sure. Maybe you should try a little harder."
"You know, we could skip the flirting part altogether and head straight into heated kisses beside a roaring fire."
Damned if her heart didn't miss a beat. "We could." But she couldn't be that easy. Could she? She and Paul had only split up six weeks ago. "Or I could read my book and pretend you're not really here."
"You could." He nodded. "But heated kisses beside a roaring fire would be a lot more entertaining for both of us."
Entertaining? Hell, forget the fireplace, the two of them would probably ignite flames of their own together. "For all the other hotel guests too. I bet they'd get a kick out of watching."
Humor sparkled in his eyes, and something else. Desire? Hunger? Or maybe raw lust?
Nah, the raw lust was radiating from her, not him.
He lowered his voice. "If it's privacy you're wanting, there's a fireplace in my chalet."
Heated kisses beside a roaring fire in the privacy of his hotel room? With a Canadian she'd never see again? A man she could spend her passion with and move on. Damn, there was very little that appealed more.
Okay, so maybe there was something that appealed more. Jackson.
Yeah, didn't matter how much Jackson appealed, nothing else could ever happen between them. Not without causing Jackson's sister untold heartache.
"If I'd wanted privacy, I'd never have invited you to sit here," she pointed out logically.
"Tell me you're not regretting the invitation?"
She nibbled on her lower lip. "Well, you do talk a lot..."
He shot her a purely wicked look. "Not when I'm in the middle of a heated kiss."
"You talk a lot about kissing." She didn't mind one bit.
He nodded. "I've been thinking about it a lot. Since I first spied you in the lobby earlier."
"You saw me earlier?" How could she not have noticed him?
"While I was checking in. You were on your way out. Dressed for a blizzard I might add."
He'd noticed her attire? "I went for a walk. It was so cold there may as well have been a blizzard brewing."
He shook his head. "You Australians have no idea about cold and blizzards."
She let her gaze slide away from his face and down to his chest and shoulders. "We have no idea? Mate, you're wearing a T-shirt." A T-shirt he filled out beautifully. It hugged his broad shoulders and ended halfway down his upper arms, showcasing muscled biceps and golden flesh. "It's three degrees Celsius out there, the mercury's plummeting, and you're wearing a T-shirt."
"We're indoors. There's a fire. It's warm."
Was he nuts? "It's warm here and now. But the sun's going down. Soon as it sets, the temperature will drop below freezing."
"Not a prob. I have a sweater for when I go out."
"A sweater?" One sweater? She had two jackets, an assortment of jumpers, three sweaters and a cardigan--and those were just for a three-day trip.
"You're crazy." Gorgeous, ridiculously sexy and crazy.
"I'm always cold in winter." God, she missed the sun-drenched days of summer.
"You know, in Canada we have a brilliant system for keeping warm."
"Ducted heating. I know."
"Actually, I was talking about sex."
His answer was so unexpected she laughed out loud. "Sex, huh?" Dear Lord, she wanted to keep warm with Garreth, Canadian style. For sure it would take her mind off Jackson's imminent arrival--and their checkered past. "Nope, sorry. We don't have sex in Australia."
He looked aghast. "Not even in the Blue Mountains?"
"Especially not in the Blue Mountains."
He nodded gravely. "Ah. That's a damn pity."
"Don't let it worry you. You're going back to Toronto in a couple of weeks. I'm sure you'll have plenty of sex then--even if it is summer and there won't be any need to keep warm."
"Maybe, but I was hoping to have sex with you, here in the Blue Mountains."
Again she laughed, enjoying his witty repartee. Enjoying it almost as much as she enjoyed the tantalizing sparks that flickered between them. "Would you settle for a drink by the fireplace?"
He considered her question. "Depends which fireplace."
"This one, right here."
"How about the one in my room?"
She shook her head. "Nah. Too risky. I might have to fend off your heated kisses." Yeah, right. If anything, he'd be the one fending her off. The longer they chatted, the more appetizing his lips became.
He grinned devilishly. "No might about it. Another red wine?" He motioned to her empty glass before signaling to a waiter.
She nodded and he ordered wine for her and a scotch for himself. "So, Rachel," he said as soon as the waiter had left, "what is it you do when you're not seducing men into kissing you beside roaring fires?"
For a couple of seconds she hesitated to tell him. If he knew about her job, she'd lose some of her anonymity. And if she were to entertain ideas about kissing Garreth beside the fire, she knew she'd have to maintain that sense of them being strangers. A fling appealed no end. A brief affair with a stranger to take the edge off before Jackson arrived. A little something to distract her from her obsessions about the man she could never have.
A one-night stand.
Garreth was the perfect stranger. Gorgeous, charming and sexy to boot. He'd be a perfect distraction. Exactly what she needed.
But then she forged ahead. She'd never see Garreth again after tonight. He lived on another continent. What could it hurt to tell him a few things about herself?