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Cupid's Arrow

Author(s): Jianne Carlo

Stephanie and Eli go toe to toe on every project, but the attraction is irresistible. Is it a love or an alibi?

Eli’s got the world by the short and curlies. Top salesperson for the hippest graphic technology company on the planet, starlets pursue him, directors court him, the rich and powerful befriend him. Then his boss hires the animation talent of the century, a pint-sized nymph, and he’s flabbergasted by his reaction to her.
 
Stephanie falls in crush with Eli the day they meet. He’s everything she’s not, popular, charismatic, and sexier than any Hollywood hunk. Years of sickness and chemo leaves her uncomfortable with her peers and buff guys like Eli, and when he flirts with every woman except her, jealousy and insecurity make her angry and hostile.

They go toe to toe on every project, and both say things they regret, until finally they hook up with disastrous results. Convinced he ‘nailed’ her because of a dare, Stephanie refuses to have any contact with him afterward, but she still yearns for him.

Stephanie and Eli end up together alone on a PR tour for the company’s first animated release, a movie set to be the next family-oriented blockbuster.  The ‘morning after’ the original imprints of Valentine Voodoo disappear, and the primary suspect is Eli.

Has he used her to establish an alibi?

Excerpt


“Okay?” Eli asked, his voice husky and all growl.
Stephanie stared into his eyes and the desire blazing there soothed her fear. She nodded
Planting his palms on the wall on either side of her face, he bent his head and brushed sinfully soft lips over hers. The tickle-tingle sensation sent sparks across her belly, pulling at her navel, tugging her clitoris.
“You taste of chocolate and peanut butter,” he whispered, his mouth moving on hers. “Can I have a rain check on the milk and cookies? Want to go for a walk? It’s warmed up and the beach is one block away. I want nothing more than to kiss you for hours, but I have some explaining to do, and being here with you in this room—well—it’s not conducive to clear thinking and I’m not screwing us up again.”
This was the Eli she’d fallen in love with. The gentle, careful giant who stooped down to talk to the special needs school kids who toured the studio once a month. The brusque man who burped Christine’s babies and shrugged off the slight milky stench the swathed in pink bundles left behind. The boyish alpha who always found a way to boost a team member’s flagging spirits.
“Okay. Sure. I mean, yes.” Stop babbling. She chewed the inside of her cheek, stared at the bed, snatched her jeans jacket off the paisley comforter, scuffed on her loosely-laced sneakers, and grabbed a long scarf.
“Here. Let me do that.” He turned up the collar on her jacket and looped the swatch of orange and green silk to one side, and his fingers scraped her collarbone when he draped the fabric just so. “There. That should keep you warm. Ready?”
“Yep.” Talk. Converse. Say something. “A walk sounds good. I kind of wanted to see the Pacific up close and personal.”
He planted a hand in the small of her back and guided her out of the room. The elevator bell rang right as they approached it and the golden doors opened. “Perfect timing, huh? Arranged just for you.”
Gawd, he had the most perfect smile. Suppose she messed this up again?
The boy-mischief-maker grin she loved faded. “What’s wrong? Why the frown?”
“Nothing,” she blurted. “Snowed by the famous Gallagher charm, I guess.”
What an asinine thing to say. If only she knew how to flirt.
He pressed his lips into a thin line. “It failed totally with you.”
She snorted. “As if.”
Geeze, the man shone brighter than the Florida sun when he flashed that uneven grin. “Really? I know you didn’t hate me at the beginning. But, after…I never could quite figure out what I’d done wrong.”
Her heart did a little jig against her ribs at Eli’s slight stammer and the grim lines bracketing his mouth. Eli? Insecure?
Stephanie felt for his hand and gave his fingers a little squeeze. She tiptoed, cupped a hand over his ear, and whispered, “It didn’t. Fail. The charm, I mean.”
For a brief moment their gazes met. He thumbed her knuckles and brushed his lips over them. The heat blazing between them consumed all the oxygen in her lungs. They didn’t speak another word until Eli helped her through the hotel’s revolving door.
A brisk wind tunneled up from the bay and whipped Stephanie’s hair against her cheeks. She craned her head back and sniffed the air. “It’s a nice change from Bradenton. The cooler temps here, I mean.”
She squeezed her eyes shut. Damn it. Would she ever be able to carry on a normal conversation with him?
“Steph?” He tipped her chin up, and she blinked him into focus. “You changing your mind? About us? About the second chance?”


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ISBN (Print):
ISBN (Electronic): 978-1-62916-019-1
Genre: Erotic Romance
Date Published: 02/06/2014
Publisher: Taliesin Publishing

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