Naughty Games, Book One
In honor of her friend's birthday, Bev Navarro does something she swore never to do again, enter Holden Lancaster's home. At one time the two had been part of a close-knit group of friends, but that all changed thanks to one game of Seven Minutes in Heaven.
Holden can't understand why Bev is avoiding him. He can only hope tonight's festivities will give them the time needed to mend old wounds. But one look at her face tells him he's in for a night of disappointments.
The birthday surprise is on them though, because they're receiving a gift neither will ever forget. The stopwatch is going, and the only question is, will they make the same mistake the second time around?
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Ellora's Cave Publishing, Incorporated
November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Seven Minutes in Heaven by Lena Matthews
Damn him! Even though she had a right to her anger and pain, Bev found it difficult to harden her heart against Holden. No matter how much she really wanted to. "Regrettably it's not mortal."
He winced at her words and held his hands in the air in a defenseless manner. "I surrender. Please lay down your arms at the door."
"You're safe...for now." Bev turned away before she did something stupid such as jumping into his arms, and instead opened the closet door. Ignoring the tug of her heartstrings, she stepped forward and reached for a hanger. Unfortunately, Holden followed.
She sensed more than heard him move, stilling as he reached over her and took down a hanger. His mere presence so close made Bev dizzy. How in the world am I ever going to survive the night?
"I wasn't worried. I'm more than sure I can take you."
Take you could have been interpreted in so many different ways. Especially the way he said it, as if it were more of a promise than a threat.
"I don't underestimate you at all, Holden." Her words sounded cool and collected, a vast contrast to the fire burning inside her. With surprisingly steady hands, Bev took the hanger from Holden and muttered a soft "thank you" in the process. Swiftly she hung up her jacket then turned around. As Bev suspected, Holden hadn't moved. He filled the doorway, blocking her exit.
The teasing tone was no longer present in his stance or his words. "How long has it been, Bev?"
"Since?" The word barely squeaked past her lips. So much for cool and collected.
"Since you've allowed yourself to be in the same room with me."
"I've seen you around."
Holden crossed his arms over his broad chest and cocked his head to the side. His body language spoke more than his simple words had. Holden was gearing up for a battle of wills with Bev ringing in as his worthy adversary. "Like when?"
Bev didn't have to think to answer the question. She knew to the second when they'd last met. "Tripp's barbeque on the Fourth of July."
"A year ago at Tripp's barbeque." Holden stressed "a year" as if it may have somehow slipped Bev's mind how long ago the event had been.
"It's nothing personal, Holden. I've just been really busy."
"Not too busy to see the others, and don't bother to deny it. I've asked. You've even been to visit Paige recently."
"Checking up on me?" Although her words were flippant, she couldn't help but feel slightly pleased he'd been asking about her. Of course it was most likely just common courtesy. They had been friends after all--once. But it was impossible to steady her erratic pulse, just as it was beyond her control the way her nipples tightened beneath her blouse.
Holden bypassed her question as was his way when he was cornered. After ten years of friendship, it was easy to recognize one another's signs. "I noticed you greeted everyone else with a warm smile and a hug. Everyone but me, that is."
"You were behind the bar," Bev reasoned, even though she knew it was a lie. "Can we continue this conversation in the hallway?"
"So you can run? As usual."
"I don't run."
"Prove it. Come here and give me what you willingly gave everyone else." Holden dropped his arms to his side and waited. His words were spoken quietly, but the order could not be missed...or denied.
"Gladly." Bev wasn't a coward, but she wasn't stupid either. "But out there."
"Why not in here?" Holden glanced around as if noticing their surroundings for the first time. "I think it's fitting, don't you? This is where we shared our first kiss."
"Stop it, Holden." Bev didn't want to remember.
"This is the place where I had my first taste of your sweet nectar."
Bev held her hand out as if her palm could stop his damning words.
"The first place you came for me."
"Damn you." Quickly stepping forward, Bev tried to cover his mouth, but Holden grabbed her wrist and, using it as leverage, spun her around, slamming her back against his chest.
Lowering his mouth to her ear, Holden angrily continued. "No. Damn you, Bev, for walking away from me."