Recipe for Seduction ONLY
$2.99

a Madewood Brothers novel by Gina Gordon

Recipe for SeductionLet the game of seduction begin…

Veronica Whitfield feels like a frumpy old maid. After ten years of raising her younger siblings, she’s desperate to get her sexy back. And why not find it with the man she’s been in lust with since she was twelve years old—her brother’s best friend, Finn O’Reilly?

Finn is looking for love. And not any love—true love. Complete with the white picket fence, two children, and a dog. He’s just been a little unlucky finding it, and he sure as hell isn’t about to consider his best friend’s little sister for the job, no matter how badly he wants her in his bed.

But then Veronica propositions him with a game of dark, delicious seduction. Finn is tempted to indulge his hidden need for kink, but at what cost? Following through could very well ruin their friendship, but maybe—just maybe—helping Veronica rediscover her sexy side is exactly what he needs to find love at last…

 

Information:

Title: Recipe for Seduction
Series: Madewood Brothers, #3
Author: Gina Gordon
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 290 pages
Release Date: May 2014
ISBN: 978-1-62266-563-1
Imprint: Brazen
 
 
Price listed is for the U.S. digital format. Please confirm pricing and availability with the retailer before downloading.
 

 
 
 

An Excerpt from:

Recipe for Seduction
by Gina Gordon

Copyright © 2014 by Gina Gordon. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit in any form or by any means. For information regarding subsidiary rights, please contact the Publisher.

 

Chapter One

The single spotlight illuminated the stage, leaving Veronica Whitfield with nowhere to hide.

The ting, ting, ting of the cymbal alerted her to the beginning of her song. Her eyes focused on the beams above the medium-size stage as she held her hands—encased in white satin—over her head.

The brass section of the band wailed and with that intro she cocked her hip to the right and pulsed, letting her body move to the beat of the music. When the music surged with an abrupt note, she kicked out her leg and thrust her arms down hard, straight to her sides.

With each sharp sound, her body matched the beat with quick staccato movements until the trumpet played a long note and she swiveled her hips, making sure to stick her ass out as far as she could.

Engage every muscle, Miss Trixie Treat—her instructor—would say in every lesson.

The crowd hollered, obviously liking the sexy sway of her body. Veronica smiled. Not out of happiness, but out of relief. She’d gotten a reaction. That’s all she’d wanted out of this journey. That’s all she’d wanted the moment she’d decided to sign up for a six-week burlesque workshop. But she had gotten so much more.

Stepping down from the riser with long, wide movements, she approached the front of the stage. She bent, grasping the zipper at the bottom of her red, calf-length wool skirt, but before she pulled, she looked out into the audience and bit her bottom lip. Catcalls encouraged her to reveal just a little more skin.

She pulled the zipper, revealing her long legs encased in sheer red stockings. It was her own personal dichotomy. She wore a two-piece skirt suit with short white gloves and a matching pillbox hat. But underneath was a whole different story. On the outside, she was a respectable mother figure, but on the inside—her inner vixen clawed to be set free.

The crowd loved the modest flash of skin and she gave them more, peeling off her gloves one at a time with her teeth. She sashayed around the stage a few minutes longer, then removed her skirt to reveal a black garter attached to her red stocking. Then she flung her jacket to the side, showing a matching black bustier that pushed up her barely-there breasts. And what burlesque costume wasn’t complete without a little bling? The garter and bustier were both adorned with rhinestones.

The bright stage lights made it difficult to distinguish faces in the audience, but she’d made sure they wouldn’t be a distraction. She’d purposely left her glasses backstage.

She shimmied and shook, stepping up on the riser, giving the crowd a little shoulder drop for good measure, then slowly, seductively, releasing the garters from her stockings.

Inhaling deeply, she did her best to forget she was on stage, half-dressed, and about to become even more naked in the next two minutes. She unhooked the silk garter belt and let it fall. When it pooled at her feet, she slowly, deliberately, rolled off the stockings, then let her hands glide up her bare legs. The crowd screamed, loving the jiggle of her ass cheeks.

Veronica turned and faced the audience. This was it. The final item of clothing to be removed. I can do it.

She unhooked the fastenings at the back of the bustier. When both sides were free, she held it with one hand, teasing the spectators. She sat in the middle of the stage and leaned back, her legs seesawing out in front of her. It had taken the entire six weeks of class to be able to do this move without groaning—her abdominal strength had been severely lacking. Finally, she ripped the bustier away, letting it fly to the side of the stage.

The music slowed and the lights dimmed. Her eyes settled, no longer having to squint. She came up on her knees and lifted her arms, her torso swaying, the tassels of her pasties moving in a perfect circle.

This close to the front of the stage, her eyes focused on a few faces in the crowd. Her heart fluttered. This was exactly what she had needed to get her sexy back. She felt confident, beautiful, and comfortable in her own body. She was ready to focus on herself—on her life—and what lay ahead. The possibilities were endless.

She smiled wide and turned to the right, her gaze locking with a man in the front row. He didn’t look mesmerized by her performance. More like a rush of shock and awe had settled on his face. And she knew that face anywhere. She’d seen it every day growing up as a kid in the foster care system, and had dreamed of it every night once she was old enough to have those kinds of dreams.

The man was Finn O’Reilly.

And he’d just seen her get naked onstage in front of a crowd.

Veronica’s stomach churned. She looked away and shook off her embarrassment. She had lost a beat or two in her split-second freak-out, but she soldiered on. Eventually, the music stopped, the crowd roared, and she exited stage left.

“Fan-freaking-tastic, Ronnie, babe! The best version I’ve seen you do yet,” her classmate—and now friend—Madison Malone greeted her.

“You look like you’re going to puke. Honey, it’s over. You’re done,” Madison said with a frown.

“He’s in the audience,” Veronica said on a groan.

Madison shot her a confused look. “Who’s in the audience?”

“He’s there. Him.” Veronica pointed out toward the crowd.

From the stage, Miss Trixie clapped, her voice filling the room as she fulfilled her MC duties and introduced the next act. “Thank you, June Beaver. Wasn’t she wonderful, ladies and gentlemen?”

Madison howled. “I still fucking love your name.”

Veronica’s burlesque name. June Beaver. June the respectable 1950s mother who gets naked and shows her beaver to the audience. She thought it was brilliant if she did say so herself. But congratulating herself on a good stage name wasn’t priority number one right now.

“Honey, I don’t know a ‘him.’ You’re going to have to be more specific.” Madison huddled her away from the stage wings. “Wait.” She pulled them to a stop. “Are you talking about Chef Hottie?”

Although those would be the two best words to describe Finn O’Reilly, Veronica shot her friend a withering look.

“It is Chef Hottie.” Madison squared her body. The flowery tattoo inked on her bare left shoulder was now hidden under the dim light backstage. “Oh, fuck me. If he’s out there, then he saw your act. He saw you take off all your clothes.”

He’d had a front-row seat for the peep show. And Veronica had recognized it—the mortification on his face—because it was exactly how she’d felt.

“Honey, you’ve got it bad. I’ve never met an adult who actually doodles her crush’s name.”

Madison was right. Veronica had it bad and she still doodled his name. It was as if she’d never grown up when it came to Finn. Despite graduating from college, starting her own wedding planning business, and unexpectedly raising her two teenaged half siblings, she was as adult as it got. But Finn never failed to make her feel like a silly little girl.

“If he didn’t have sexual thoughts about you before, then he certainly does now.”

She shook her head in an attempt to focus. “What are you talking about?” Finn O’Reilly couldn’t possibly have sexual thoughts about the woman he still called “Little One.”

Threading an arm through hers, Madison directed them to the dressing room. “You rocked your routine. Your body is smokin’. And you had every man in there watching, waiting, for you to get naked.”

Madison was the sexy siren, with her fire-engine-red hair and curvy figure. And she was even more beautiful because she had an edge. Tattoos littered her body, big ones and small ones; even her nose and belly button were pierced, which made it a little intimidating to take in at first glance. But they had become fast friends six weeks ago, a friend Veronica had needed desperately.

Madison had already performed her act—a photographer who gets naked to take pictures. Fitting, because she was a photographer in real life—mostly weddings, but she dabbled in boudoir, which had prompted her search for Intro to Burlesque with Miss Trixie.

“Not Finn. With Finn I will always be the little girl he had to indulge because my brother could never leave me on my own.”

They walked into the dressing room. The rest of her classmates ran around like maniacs, fixing last-minute costume glitches, adding more sparkles to their bodies. When she was noticed, two of her classmates rushed over and engulfed her, knocking Madison out of the way. The rest of the class joined in; the shrieks and squeals were music to her ears. She’d never felt such camaraderie before. It was inspiring, and made her feel as though she belonged, when for so long, she hadn’t.

Madison huddled her into the corner of the dressing room near a mirrored station that was littered with brushes, eye shadow tins, glitter, and bronzer. “Why did you take this class?”

Veronica sighed. There were so many reasons. Over the last eight years, she had lost herself. Had completely submerged herself into being a substitute mother and role model for her two teenaged siblings. It was the hardest thing she’d ever done, and would continue to do, but in a few short weeks both of them would be off to university and she would finally have her life back.

Dating. Men. Fun. Friends. Growing her wedding planner business. It was exciting and overwhelming at the same time, but if she was honest, she didn’t like who Veronica Whitfield had been pre-siblings. Quiet, reserved, always watching from the sidelines, dreaming of something she could never have. Now that she was pushing thirty, it was the perfect opportunity to reinvent herself. She just needed help in one specific area.

“I need to get my sexy back.” Back? She’d never had it to begin with.

“I think you’ve found it,” Madison assured her.

Veronica wouldn’t disagree, but any strides she might have made in coming into her own body would never translate to her interactions with Finn.

“But just in case you need some help, I bought you something.” Madison sifted through her bag that sat on the one of the makeup tables and pulled out a book.

Veronica’s mouth dropped when she read the title. “You bought that for me?”

“Hell, yes, I did. I’m not going to let you chicken out on your plan.”

The bright red book with oversized black lettering taunted her. Veronica grabbed it and tucked it against her body, and whispered, “Why the hell do I need a book about arousing men?”

“Honey, you said it yourself. You’re out of practice.” Madison sighed. “No offense, because you know I love you, but I have a feeling you were never in practice.” She leaned her ass against the table and gripped the edge. “You’re going to find a man who will help you play out some of those scenes, build up your confidence, and then you’ll kick him to the curb. We’re not aiming for forever here.”

Forever. Veronica had wanted her forever to be Finn. Even before he was adopted by the rich socialite Vivian Madewood; before the money, restaurants, and the legions of gawking women. He had been her fantasy.

But she’d given up on the dream the minute two very cute, very troubled little kids had shown up on her doorstep.

Madison gazed at her speculatively. “I think your first mission is to proposition Chef Hottie and shake it how Miss Trixie taught you.”

“Oh, no.” Veronica dropped into an empty chair in front of a long mirror.

“Oh, yes. You’re going to be an expert in male fantasies, and by the time our little experiment is over you’ll be able to seduce any man you want.” Madison grabbed the book and flipped through the pages. “Look how simple these are. Having sex with a stranger. Getting caught in the act. Oh!” She turned the book and pointed. “The shy girl who’s a vixen in the bedroom.” She poked a finger in her direction. “That can be you.”

Madison swiveled her around and their eyes met in the mirror. “You’re going to make him notice you. Though, I think you’ve already accomplished that.”

Veronica shook her head. Fear crept its way up her neck and settled as a light flush of heat across her cheeks. “You don’t know that.”

“If he has a penis, he noticed.” Madison gripped the arms of the chair, causing her biceps to squeeze together her D cups. A kindergarten class could go on a field trip in her cleavage and get lost. “Now all you have to do is let him know you’re interested in a little slap and tickle.”

“It’s not a good idea. He’s my brother’s friend—his best friend. He’s my friend. We’ve known each other forever. He’s a celebrity chef known to virtually every woman in this city. The most eligible bachelor, and…”

“And what?” Madison stepped back and crossed her arms over her chest. “How many more excuses are you going to add to your list?”

She only had two excuses. Ali and Cal.

Prior to the stork dropping them on her front doorstep, Veronica had wanted the family life—the husband and kids, the minivan, the pets, and the picket fence. She had wanted it all, and with Finn. But when her life was turned upside down with her instant family, the jarring light of reality had killed that dream, and was replaced by the certain knowledge that raising kids was damn hard. Something she definitely did not want to repeat. She’d been there, done that, and barely survived the teenage hormones. No thank you.

She’d done a good job, if she didn’t say so herself, but now her “children” were going to be out of the house. It was time to focus on her. For the last eight years she had thought of herself as a mother. It was now time to retire that crown and reclaim the title of single woman.

“You need some fun,” Madison urged. “Having uncomplicated, one-time-fling sex with a hot guy is exactly what you need to reenter the adult world.”

Her friend had a point. And who better than her ultimate fantasy man?

It wasn’t like Veronica presumed to think Finn would ever want an actual relationship with her. It wouldn’t work, even if he did. He still desired that picket fence, but she no longer did. She had bulldozed the fence to the ground. Heck, she’d have lots of time to find a man who wanted the same lifestyle she did—which didn’t include another family. She loved the one she had, and that was plenty for her.

Still…Finn could be a nice test run in the sexy department. To make sure she hadn’t forgotten how to use her most intimate of assets. The second step in reclaiming her womanhood. Step one had been signing up for the burlesque class. And Finn would be her next exciting adventure.

But there was just one problem. “What happens afterward?”

Madison shrugged. “You thank him and move on.”

She made it seem so simple. But it was easier said than done.

“Yeah, except he’s catering a wedding I’m planning next month. He’ll be around a lot. It will be awkward.”

“Only if you make it awkward.”

How could it not be? It was bad enough Veronica had pretend images of a naked Finn inside her head whenever she spoke with him. What would happen when those images were suddenly real?

Hmmm… Now, there was a tempting thought.

“I wouldn’t even know what to do,” she protested.

Applause filled the dressing room as one of her classmates finished her routine and was greeted with praise and hugs for a good minute before the noise level settled.

“Be confident,” Madison told her, and winked. “Be dirty. Everything you think about him doing to you in your head, say it out loud. And most important…show him how much you want him.”

“I’ll think about it.”

How could she not? Seducing Finn O’Reilly was the opportunity of a lifetime. One that might never come again.

But did she have the courage to seize it?

The rest of the show ran smoothly, and Miss Trixie praised them all for a job well done. Looking around the dressing room at her friends, Veronica wondered if she was the only one who felt such a forceful transformation.

Her classmates were young, old, professional women, students, and everything in-between. A cross-section of females from every stage in life.

Her biggest fear in signing up for the class had been encountering someone she knew in the audience. There would be so many questions and wide eyes. But fear obviously wasn’t a deal-breaker because it hadn’t stopped her from stepping onto that stage tonight.

Over the last six weeks she truly had transformed. Even her siblings had noticed a difference in her. Their sideways glances at her out-of-character behavior was the biggest tip-off. Singing. Adding a hip thrust to everyday activities like making dinner—not that anyone would consider frozen pizza a dinner.

Madison left the dressing room with her classmates and headed out to the bar for an after-show drink. Veronica was the last to leave. She was hiding, and she knew it. But she wouldn’t hide forever. She’d go out there and join the rest of them. In public.

If Finn was there, so be it.

In fact, all the better. Her fears would not control her desires.

She took a deep breath. Unwilling to waste this opportunity, she was determined to put Madison’s advice to good use.

Be confident and talk dirty.

She took one last look in the mirror and readjusted her breasts inside the bra cups of her bustier. She’d spent way too much time pulling together the perfect costume, and she wasn’t about to take it off so soon.

“Confident, dirty. Dirty, confident,” she mumbled, straightening her pillbox hat and securing it with another bobby pin.

She walked out of the dressing room. “Dirty…confident…”

Before her first step even made contact with the floor in the hallway, she jumped at the sound of a familiar voice.

“Going so soon?”

 

 

Chapter Two

Finn O’Reilly tried his best to remain calm.

Really. It wasn’t a big deal to see your best friend’s sister naked on a stage.

Veronica stood frozen, like a wild animal caught in the glare of a headlight. Her eyes were wide and her hands wavered at her sides. She was so busted.

“Finn!” she squeaked.

Flashbacks of the nakedness, of the wild woman, he’d seen on stage came rushing back. It was unlike any behavior he’d have expected from her. And didn’t that just fuck up his decision to keep far, far away from the woman he’d known since childhood, the woman who was the sister of a man he loved like a brother.

“Does your brother know you get naked on stage?” he asked.

Her trepidation washed away quickly with his words, and she jammed one hand on her hip. “First of all, this is a one-time thing. I took a class, and tonight was my graduation.” She squared her shoulders, straightening, as if she’d gotten an influx of confidence. “And second, what I do in my personal life is none of my brother’s business.”

If only that were true. Mark Whitfield was an overprotective brother and Finn knew it. He had been ever since the day the two siblings were separated as kids and put into different foster homes. Mark had blamed himself for not being there to take care of Veronica even though he was only a child himself.

“I would disagree. Why don’t we call him?” Finn reached into the inner pocket of his jacket.

He had no intention of calling, but he couldn’t resist having a little fun.

“Over my dead body, Finn O’Reilly.” She lunged forward and grabbed for his hand as it went to his pocket. Their fingers touched. Immediately a rush of heat spread through his entire body.

She gasped and jerked away. The book she’d been holding fell to the floor. Had she felt it too? The heat—the spark that had ignited as soon as they touched?

Finn shook it off. That spark needed to be contained—doused with water to keep from spreading. To keep from morphing into something the two of them could never recover from.

Before she had the chance to pick up the book, he bent forward and grabbed it.

“No, Finn, I’ll—”

“What do we have here?”

He smiled. Tonight was shaping up to be the most eye-opening, the most intriguing evening he’d had in a long time. Ever.

How to Seduce a Man.” He read the title out loud then looked up and met her gaze. Her mouth hung open in shock. “What’s going on with you?” he demanded.

“None of your business.”

He leafed through the pages. “Do you have a special someone you’re trying to impress?”

He’d kill him. Whoever he was. There was no way little Veronica was going to try any of these things with some jerk-off who’d only use her to play out a few fantasies and then take off.

“What do you need this book for, little one?”

“Stop calling me that. I’ve just gotten naked on stage in front of a room full of people.” She pulled open her red jacket and flashed her sexy lingerie. “And in case you haven’t noticed, I am not little anymore.”

“Damn it, V. Close it up.” He reached out and tugged on the edges of the fabric.

Veronica ripped the book away and whirled around, walking out the back door of the club into the warm evening air.

“Speaking of getting naked…” He followed her outside into the alley. “This class you took. So, you’re stripping now?”

She stopped and turned, her hip cocking out to the right, as she glared at him from the alley. “It’s not stripping, it’s burlesque.”

Tomato. Tom-ah-to. “There’s a difference? Naked is naked.”

“Burlesque is an art form. A tease. A formulaic routine of magic…or so Miss Trixie likes to say.”

What kind of people was she hanging out with? “Miss Trixie?”

“My instructor.” She hugged the book against her body, covering the swell of her deliciously sinful breasts. “What did you think of the show, anyway?”

What did he think? He thought she was the most sexy thing he’d ever laid his eyes on. The others didn’t hold a candle to her talent. And boy, did she have talent. The way she moved her hips. The tiny glimmer of naughtiness in her beautiful brown eyes…

A shivered raced up his spine. “The show was…interesting.”

She scowled. “We all worked really hard on our routines. Six weeks.”

He had been dragged to the show by his sous chef, Chris Landry, who, it turned out, was dating one of her classmates—the mermaid routine. Small world. Too small.

Veronica had obviously put a lot of time and effort into her routine, he could tell that much. But he didn’t understand why. What could possibly have possessed her to sign up for this class? What did she get out of it?

“What did you think of my act?” She walked a bit closer, and he stepped back. He needed the distance. The distance kept him in check. The closer she got, the less his brain wanted to work.

“Your act?” He gulped. It was fucking fantastic. A fantasy come true—his number one fantasy…or at least half of it. The other half consisted of her bent over his kitchen counter, screaming his name, wearing nothing but an apron while he spanked her with a spatula and she begged him to fuck her. Not that he’d thought about it much.

“Come on, Finn. I don’t have anyone else to ask.”

“Christ, V.” He shoved his hands in his pockets. “I can’t answer that.”

She bit her bottom lip. “You’re a man, right?”

He straightened, rolling his shoulders and clasping his hands behind his back. “Last time I checked.”

“Did you like it? Or did I just embarrass myself?”

“Oh, no. There was nothing embarrassing about you.” He ran his hand through his hair. “In fact, I may be biased, but your act was the best.”

Her eyes widened and her mouth formed a tight O.

Sweet Mary. She was killing him with the facial expressions. And he’d said too much. “I… I shouldn’t have said anything. It was really nice.”

Nice?

He groaned. She was pushing toward a conversation he didn’t want to have. One he had promised himself he’d never indulge in. “What do you want from me, V?”

Stepping close, he could smell her perfume and see the sparkles on her skin shimmer in the soft moonlight.

The night air was still. A car door slammed in the distance and a cackle echoed from the end of the alley.

“Tell me what you really think,” she said.

He shook his head.

“Please, Finn.” Her eyes pleaded with desperation. Was she seeking approval? Validation? She didn’t need practice. She’d had every man in the audience mesmerized, including his sous chef, whom he almost decked when his groans became far too frequent.

“I need to know I’m not a joke. I need to know—” Her eyes darted away toward the brick wall. “I need to know I’m desirable.”

She had no fucking clue. She was desirable every damn day. Despite her frumpy clothes and glasses, and even though she always pulled her hair away from her face, she was sexy as hell. But now, like this, her sexy level had been kicked to unfathomable heights.

“V… You’re…” He swallowed hard around the desirous knot in his throat.

Her body went rigid and her mouth turned down in a frown. Shit. She was really worried about this. He saw the pain in her eyes. The fear of what his answer might be. And although his brain told him to lie—lie his pants off—his heart just couldn’t break her spirit.

With a deep breath, he laid himself out on the line. “You were the hottest, sexiest thing I have ever seen, and I couldn’t take my eyes off you.” He swiped a stray hair away from her face. “You’re beautiful every day, V, half naked or not. You’re always the most beautiful woman in the room.”

She smiled, and if he wasn’t mistaken, her eyes watered.

“The housewife thing?” he went on. “I know you, and it was the perfect way to describe what I was watching up on that stage. You obviously have some kind of inner siren dying to get out.”

Before he could think about the ramifications of his words, she vaulted toward him and wrapped one arm around his neck, giving him the biggest and hardest hug he’d ever received. She was still holding the book tight against her body.

He stood still, but only for a moment, then lifted his arms and put them around her back, returning her affection.

They had hugged before, but never like this. Not with chest and pelvis flush together.

Her embrace tightened one last time, then she pulled away slowly. She kept her face close to his, and her soft breath tickled his neck when she whispered, “Thank you. You always know just what to say to make me feel better.”

It was true. He remembered telling her how beautiful she was when a scared little girl needing something to smile about. But tonight, saying those same words, they took on a whole different meaning. Tonight, those words were never more true.

Her nose grazed his with her retreat. When she stood only a breath away, their eyes met. His pants grew tight across the zipper at the sight of her pink tongue swiping her bottom lip. He couldn’t help it. The feel of her in his arms had been too overwhelming to ignore.

She lowered her eyes and her palm brushed over the book she held in her hands. Silence fell between them as she opened the cover and flipped through the pages. When the colored sheets stopped on their own, he focused on the chapter heading.

Male fantasy number three. The Shy Siren.

This particular fantasy was very fitting. Right now, the Veronica standing before him wasn’t the shy, unassuming girl he’d known forever. This Veronica was a devil just waiting to be set loose on the first man who paid attention.

“What are you doing with this book, V? It’s just…so not you.”

Her expression hardened and she let out a heavy breath. “Admit it. You think I’m a straitlaced dweeb who doesn’t know a penis from a finger.”

Finn had to suppress his laugh at her example. “I don’t think that.”

“You think I’m shy. Inexperienced,” she accused.

He had offended her. He heard it in the tone of her voice and tense way she fidgeted.

Defiance blazed back at him through the fiery brown depths of her eyes. She grabbed his hand and pulled him farther into the alley. They ducked into a small alcove. She grabbed a rusty old metal chair and patted the seat.

He obliged hesitantly. “Veronica, what are you—”

She silenced him when she took off her coat and rested it on the ground on top of her bag, along with the book of seduction.

That same confidence she’d had on stage manifested itself again. The Sexy Siren had returned, and Finn had a sinking feeling she was going to make him eat his words.

“Does it turn you on? Thinking about how fearless I might be in bed?” She lowered the zipper of her skirt to just below her waist, and lifted her leg, resting her foot on a cardboard box—giving him a perfect view of the area between her legs. She ran her fingers from the strap of her heel to her supple thigh, where she fiddled with the lace band of her stocking.

“Does it turn you on thinking about how that little girl you used to know could bring you to your knees now?”

Holy shit. This was not the conversation he needed to be having with his best friend’s little sister. It was completely inappropriate, especially considering the fantasy she was spinning was something he’d always wanted to do. What man didn’t relish being taken by surprise in the bedroom?

He tensed, squirming in his seat, trying his best to balance on the small metal chair barely holding his body weight. “What turns me on doesn’t matter.”

Why was she talking about turning him on? Why was she taking this conversation to a place he knew was wrong?

But despite the questions and hesitation going on in his brain, the lower half of his body didn’t feel the same way.

She sauntered over to him, taking strong, confident steps in her fuck-me heels. She leaned forward, her breasts spilling out from her bustier, and he groaned. She grabbed the outside of his legs and pushed them together, straddling him, pressing her body closer to his face. She smelled like sweat and citrus.

Her body lowered, and her ass made contact with his lap as she pulled up her skirt. The scant fabric of her thong had moved, and it hugged the plump lips of her sex. He turned his gaze away, not wanting to stare, but she grabbed his chin and forced him to look at her. The whisper of his name was the last thing he heard before she closed the distance and pressed her lips to his. And even though it was August, the sky lit up like it was the Fourth of July.

Her lips were soft, heavenly, even better than he had imagined. And she knew how to use them. She bit his bottom lip and pulled. Christ, he loved that. She was showing signs of kink, and was quickly becoming a woman he could let loose with. Someone he trusted more than anyone to meet his demands and certain…proclivities he had in the bedroom. A woman he had yet to meet. Or had he…?

She moaned against his lips and he remembered who he was with, and what he was doing. He grabbed her arms and pushed her away. Her chest heaved and her lips were wet and plump from kissing him. Sexy as hell. But this was not a road they should be going down.

“You were right about the siren,” she confessed in a husky whisper. “I have so much passion dying to escape. So much need. And no one to share it with.” She slipped her hands around his neck again and played with the wisps of hair at his nape.

Have mercy. This girl was dipping her sexy stilettos into dangerous territory.

“Do you have fantasies, Finn?”

He had a shitload, but this was the first time he could actually check one off the list. Two, rather. Tonight he’d gotten two checks.

“Sure I do,” he said warily.

He wanted a woman to cook for him wearing nothing but an apron. To use kitchen utensils for purposes other than cooking. To have sex in the public dining room of his restaurant in front of the large open window.

“Tell me all your fantasies.”

He cocked his head. “Why are you so interested?”

“I just might make them come true.”

His stomached tightened, his excitement uncontrollable. She squirmed a little harder into his lap, and she had to feel it—the erection that was getting harder by the second.

“Haven’t you ever thought about what it would be like to fuck me?”

He groaned, conflicted. “Have you?”

She leaned forward, pressing her lips to his ear while her lower half wriggled against him. “Oh, yeah.”

“Are you saying we’re going to have sex?”

“Well, that’s up to you.”

She held tight to his shoulders and leaned back, her hips working in a figure eight motion. It made her crotch gently push against his hard-on. Did they teach her lap dancing in this burlesque class?

“The very first time I realized touching myself down here felt good, I thought of you.” She reached down and traced her middle finger along the soft lace of her thong.

He fisted his hands at his sides and straightened. Restrain yourself. You’ve always been a gentleman.

“Aren’t you going to touch me?”

His hands twitched. She wasn’t relenting. That sexy grind she was doing on his lap was breaking down his resolve. He inhaled deeply, taking in the scent of her—like an orange grove on a warm day. Why had he never noticed the sweet smell of her skin? Or was this what she smelled like when she was turned on? Either way, he couldn’t get enough of it.

His rested his hand on her calf. She stilled, but only for a moment. She sucked in a breath when he trailed it up her leg. The higher his hand moved, the harder she swiveled on his lap. Her stocking felt like silk when he brushed over her knee and up her thigh. She let out a quiet moan.

She was going to be doing more than that before he was through with her.

He grabbed her thighs with both hands, his thumbs massaging the insides, circling higher and higher toward the sweet center of her arousal.

“Finn…” she whispered, throwing her head back. The shiny length of her brown hair blew lightly in the warm autumn breeze. It wafted her citrus scent, engulfing him, catapulting his impulse to ravage her.

He’d never seen her like this. So unabashed and willing. So—

Her hands grabbed his and thrust them against her sex.

—so incredibly sexy.

The untimely message chirp of his cell phone sounded from his pocket. And just as quickly as the sexy scene had unfolded in front of him, it deflated.

She slumped back, letting her head fall forward. The heartbeat thumping in his chest didn’t soften when he removed his hands from her body.

The chirp had brought him back to reality. The chirp had prevented him from doing something he knew he shouldn’t. He knew better. She’s your best friend’s little sister.

“Veronica, I—”

Leaning in, she placed her finger over his lips. “One day soon, I’m going to seduce you, Finn O’Reilly. You’re not going to know when. You’re not going to know where. But I will.” She bit his earlobe. “And you’re going to love every single minute of it.”

Letting her play this game was just asking for trouble. But his libido had a mind of its own. She was already walking away before his brain could register that he should be disagreeing.

He eyed her sexy sway until she was no longer in sight. He struggled to remove his phone from his pants. They stretched way too tight across his front.

Waking the device, he tapped the screen and opened a text message from his brother Jack.

Finn. Sterling wants some kind of transportation to bring the wedding guests from the parking lot to the barn. Neil refuses to budge. Help!

Hell. Could his brothers not solve anything without him? The upcoming wedding of his youngest foster brother, Jack Vaughn, to Sterling Andrews was all the family could talk about lately. And with good reason. A wedding was always a happy time. But it was also a stressful time. And his brothers took that stress to new heights, especially when combined with their overly hectic schedules.

Jack was knee-deep in wedding plans and overseeing the foundation he’d formed in their mother’s name. Neil Harrison, his oldest foster brother and front man in charge of the family business—the Madewood Farm, a state-of-the-art facility which included a five-star restaurant, a barn venue to host private events, an exclusive family site with berry-picking in the summer, hay rides, and farm animals, as well as one of the Madewood gourmet food stores. And Cole Murphy—well, Cole was always busy with some new charitable cause.

Finn’s brothers all had things going on apart from being famous chefs. Finn was the only one who hadn’t yet found his something special.

Other than being voted by the others to be point man for—and mediate when necessary—Jack and Sterling’s wedding events. Even though he hadn’t been there to volunteer. Being the most calm and rational brother certainly had its drawbacks.

He glanced down at the text again. This time, he probably agreed with Neil. Maybe there shouldn’t be transportation at the wedding.

Then again, none of it mattered. His opinion didn’t really matter. His role in this haphazard family was to remain neutral and agreeable. It was the way it had always been. And no doubt always would be. Unless he found the balls to stand up for himself.

Maybe it was time he did.

The wind rushed through the alley, kicking up leaves into his face. But it also brought with it the lingering scent of the woman who had just given him a lap dance. And along with it, a shocking, seductive breath of change.

Screw his brothers. They had just interrupted something that had the potential to change his life forever. Being with Veronica Whitfield was his ultimate fantasy. A fantasy he had kept hidden away for years, for fear of what his true feelings may stir up.

And why the hell did he do that?

Suddenly, he had a flash of insight.

He’d spent so much time in foster care trying to please everyone else, he was forever setting aside his own wants and needs. From the very earliest age, helping people get what they wanted was how he had made himself useful.

And now here he was again. Stuck in the same pattern of thinking. He’d been one touch away from making his sexual fantasies come true, but was he thinking about himself and his raging erection, or the sexy woman hell-bent on making them come true? Hell, no. He was thinking about her brother. And his own brothers…oh, they would definitely have something to say about this.

But suddenly he didn’t give a shit. Not anymore.

For once, he was going to do something that mattered to him. To put himself first.

Hell of a situation to finally look out for number one, but he had to start somewhere. And with an offer as enticing as Veronica’s, how could he say no?

She was going to fulfill his fantasies. Having sex with her had been his number one fantasy for a hell of a long time, and frankly, if that was the only one she fulfilled he would be more than satisfied. Especially if the kinky bread crumbs she’d left in her wake turned out to be for real. He had always imagined her molding and forming to his demands. He wanted to be the one to take control. And that’s exactly what he planned to do.

Sure, Finn’d had his share of significant others. Out of all four brothers, he was the only one who could actually say he’d had girlfriends—of the long-term variety. But he’d never met anyone daring enough to consider role-playing, nor had he ever met anyone open-minded enough to appreciate the imaginative uses he envisioned for a silicone spatula besides cooking.

Maybe Veronica was exactly the woman who could fulfill his desires…without having to worry about the future. A wife and children would come one day. That was the one thing he aspired to most in this world—a family of his own. A devoted wife to come home to, and a slew of precocious kids to brighten his day. He looked forward to it with all his heart. Someday.

He knew Veronica wanted a family just as much as he did. It was something they’d discussed when they were teens. But forever was the last thing on her mind at the moment.

So why not have a little fun? Hell, a lot of fun?

Because she’s your best friend’s little sister.

So what? He shook off the nagging voice in his head as he walked to his car, readjusting his pants along the way.

Besides, what choice did he have? Veronica Whitfield had told him in no uncertain terms she was going to seduce him.

And he couldn’t wait to find out what she had in store.