Authors: Brenda Jackson
Steele Family titles
Steele Family titles
Steele Family titles
Steele Family titles
Steele Family titles
But not before he got to taste her again, to see if the flavor of her mouth had changed, and to see if she could still work her tongue as she had before.
His eyes slowly shifted lower to her chest, to the top she was wearing. He pulled in a choppy breath. He saw her nipples start to harden, right before his eyes. Hell, if just a look could do that to her, he wondered what would happen if he were to touch her, taste her.
He could feel his own eyes darkening with heat and knew the moment she saw it, as well. She continued to hold his gaze, then asked, “Is there something else?”
He couldn’t help the smile that touched his lips, a predatory one at best. She could ask the damnedest questions. This time he would give her an answer and he hoped she was ready for his response. “Yes, there is something else,” he said, walking toward her.
In Bed with Her Boss
Tonight and Forever
A Valentine Kiss
One Special Moment
Fire and Desire
Something to Celebrate
is a die “heart” romantic who married her childhood sweetheart and still proudly wears the “going steady” ring he gave her when she was fifteen. Because she’s always believed in the power of love, Brenda’s stories always have happy endings. In her real-life love story, Brenda and her husband of thirty-seven years live in Jacksonville, Florida, and have two sons.
New York Times
bestselling author of more than sixty romance titles, Brenda is retired from a major insurance company and now divides her time between family, writing and traveling with her husband, Gerald. You may write Brenda at P.O. Box 28267, Jacksonville, Florida 32226, by e-mail at [email protected] or visit her Web site at www.brendajackson.net.
BACHELORS IN DEMAND
To the love of my life, Gerald Jackson, Sr.
To all the members of the Brenda Jackson Book Club.
This one is for you.
Apply your heart to instruction,
and your ears to words of knowledge.
I love starting a new series!
I can recall when I wrote the first books of my Madaris, Westmoreland and Steele series. It felt wonderful introducing my readers to a family I had created in my mind and held in my heart. I am proud to now introduce to you six men whose ties that bind them forever were created by their fathers, best friends in college.
I envisioned six men, close friends, deciding their lives would be connected forever through their offspring and making their firstborn sons godbrothers to each other. What also would be unique was that their first names would be taken from the last six letters of the alphabet.
I would like to introduce you to Uriel Lassiter, Virgil Harrison, Winston Coltrane, Xavier Kane, York Ellis and Zion Blackstone. Xavier was introduced in my Steele series book four,
, and Uriel was introduced in Steele series book six,
These six guys, for various reasons, are members of the Bachelors in Demand Club, and are determined to stay single for as long as they can. It will be fun to see how many will retain their membership when the right woman comes along.
, is Uriel Lassiter’s story and his leading lady is someone from his past, Ellie Weston. And although Uriel wishes otherwise, she is also someone for his future.
I hope you enjoy reading Uriel and Ellie’s story.
o ahead and do it, El. You’ve been dying to kiss him forever. Do it. I dare you.”
Ellie Weston rolled her eyes at her best friend Darcelle Owens’s statement. She was used to Darcy getting them in trouble with her dares. But, this was one dare that she was more than tempted to carry through.
The two of them stood hiding in the thicket of trees and bushes while spying on the guy Ellie had had a crush on forever. It didn’t matter that Uriel Lassiter was twenty-one to her sixteen and a senior in college. All that mattered was how her heart started beating fast in her chest whenever she saw him.
“Come on, El. He’s leaving tomorrow to go back home, and you’re going to hate yourself for a missed opportunity. This will probably be the last time you’ll see
him until who knows when. He graduates next spring and will probably never come back here for the summer.”
Ellie felt a thump in the pit of her stomach and pondered Darcy’s words. With Uriel graduating from college next year, he probably wouldn’t be coming back to the lake, at least not as often. Uriel’s parents owned a summerhouse right next door to her aunt’s home on Cavanaugh Lake, a few miles outside of Gatlinburg. For a entire month during the summer she would visit her aunt, and it was only then when she would see Uriel. The thought that she might not ever see him again was too painful to think about.
She could recall only one summer that he hadn’t come, and that had been last year. She’d heard that he and his five godbrothers had taken a trip abroad that summer. It had been the most boring summer of her life.
Ellie glanced over at Darcy and whispered, “If I take you up on your dare, what do I get?”
Now it was Darcy’s turn to roll her eyes. “I would think to lock lips with your dreamboat would be enough. But since you want to be greedy, if you take me up on my dare you can have my autographed picture of Maxwell.”
Ellie’s eyes widened. She had been scheduled to go to that Maxwell concert with Darcy, but had come down with the mumps and missed it. “You’ll risk the chance of losing that?” she asked, since she knew what a big Maxwell fan Darcy was. She probably sang “Fortunate” in her sleep.
“Yes, but only if the kiss lasts for more than a minute. I don’t want to see just a peck on the lips, El. You’re going to have to make him kiss you for a long time.”
Ellie was aghast. How was she supposed to do something like that, when she’d never kissed a boy before? “Any bright ideas how to pull that off?”
Of course Miss-Know-It-All Darcy would have all the answers. “You’re going to have to use your tongue. I heard Jonas tell one of his friends that he liked kissing girls who used their tongue.”
Ellie lifted a brow. Jonas was Darcy’s oldest brother, who was a senior in high school, so he would know. All the girls back home in Minneapolis just loved Jonas and he loved all the girls. “And he said guys actually liked it?” Ellie asked, to be sure.
Darcy nodded her head. “Yes, I heard him say it. He and Leroy Green didn’t know I was hiding under the bed.”
Ellie knew better than to ask Darcy what she was doing hiding under her brother’s bed. “Well, okay. But if he doesn’t want to keep his mouth on mine I can’t make him. But I’ll try.”
Darcy’s eyes brightened. “You’re going to do it?”
Ellie released a deep breath. “Yes, but you can’t make a sound.”
“Okay, but remember the kiss has to last for at least a whole minute.”
Ellie frowned. “You don’t have to remind me.”
Uriel glanced to the side when he heard the sound of footsteps crunching on fallen leaves.
Good grief! She was only sixteen, but last week when he had arrived to join his parents at the lake, he hadn’t been able to believe how much she changed since two
summers ago. She was no longer a tall, lanky girl, but now she had curves in places that he couldn’t help notice.
She had been wearing a pair of shorts and a blouse and she looked quite stunning. The fitted top she wore outlined breasts that were full and perfectly formed. She had the tiniest waist he’d ever seen, and her hips flared out rather nicely, to join a pair of gorgeous long legs.
He swallowed, trying not to notice how she was dressed now. She was wearing another pair of shorts and they were way too skimpy for his comfort. And the way her blouse fit exposed a sliver of her bare stomach.
He frowned, trying to deny the attraction. He was five years older than her, and shouldn’t be thinking about her this way. Damn, but he could remember when she was a kid in braces climbing trees. Now he could imagine them hooking up as a couple. He shook his head slightly to clear his thoughts.
“Hey, Uri. What are you doing?” she asked, coming closer.
He shifted his gaze from her legs to glance out over the lake. “Fishing. Where’s your friend?” He nearly let his fishing rod fall in the water when she came and sat on the pier beside him.
“Oh, Darcy’s taking a nap. We were both up late last night.”
He forced his gaze to stay straight ahead. “Why aren’t you taking a nap, too?”
“Umm, not sleepy. I was taking a walk, and then I saw you and thought I’d come keep you company.”
He was about to tell her not to do him any favors, but decided against it. She had no way of knowing he
was seeing her in a whole new light. Her aunt, Ms. Mable, would probably kill him if she knew what kind of light that was.
“So, how is college?” she asked him.
He shrugged. “It’s okay. What about you? Are you looking forward to the end of the summer to head back to school?”
She giggled. It wasn’t a kid’s giggle, either. It had a sensuous twang to it. At least he thought so. “Heck no. I don’t like school. I can’t wait to get out,” she said.
He heard her words and recalled feeling that way when he’d been her age. “Don’t you have plans to go to college?” he couldn’t help but ask.
“No. I want to get married.”
Now that got his attention and he couldn’t help but glance over at her. Then he wished he hadn’t. She had brought her face close to his. Too close. He could actually see the dark irises staring back at him. That cute little mole on the side of her nose was even more visible. And the shape of her lips…When had they gotten so full? So well defined?
He swallowed, tried forcing his gaze back to the lake, but his eyes refused to budge. “Why do you want to get married?”
She smiled and his gut pulled so tight he could barely breathe. “I want to get married because…”
Her voice had lowered and he could barely hear her words. And was he imagining things, but had she just inched her face a little closer to his? Or was he the one leaning in closer?
“Because of what?” He somehow found his voice to
ask her, and couldn’t stop his gaze from dropping from her eyes to her lips.
“Because I want to know how it is to sleep with the man I love. To feel his body beside me in bed. To become acquainted with his lips on mine.”
He felt himself leaning in closer to her. “Aren’t you too young to be thinking of such things?” he managed to ask in a voice so deep he barely recognized it as his own.
“No.” And then in a move that was totally unexpected, she leaned over and plastered her lips to his.
The first thought that came to his mind was to push her away, but her lips felt so soft and sweet that he found himself entranced. His body shuddered as he sank his hand into her hair, deepening the kiss.
“That’s it, El. Hang on in there! You’ve made the one-minute mark, so now you can go for the gusto!”
Uriel jerked up, and in the process nearly tumbled them both into the water. He had to catch his breath before he could say anything, and then he looked from Ellie Weston and her thoroughly kissed lips, to her friend, the one that should have been napping.
He narrowed his gaze, first at the other girl and then at Ellie. “What’s going on, El?” he asked in a rough voice.
Before Ellie could reply, Darcy spoke up, grinning proudly, “You kissed her for one minute and twelve seconds, so she won the dare.”
Those words hit him hard in the chest. That kiss had been part of a dare. He had been the butt of these girls’ joke? That very idea made his blood boil and intense anger rushed through him. He glanced over at Ellie. “Is that true, El?”
Her face had tinted in embarrassment, and she looked everywhere but at him, mostly glaring over at her friend. “I asked you a question, El,” he said, when she didn’t say anything.
She drew in a deep breath and then glanced back over at him and said. “I can explain, Uri.”
He shook his head. “No explanations. Just answer the question. Was that kiss about a dare between you and your friend here?”
Not giving her a chance to say anything else, he snatched up his fishing rod and angrily began walking off the pier. He got halfway, turned back around and said directly to Ellie, “The next time I come to Cavanaugh Lake, I’m going to make sure that you aren’t here.”
And then he turned around and kept walking, while wishing that he could forget the sweet taste of her lips.