A little snippet to tease you all from my upcoming Ellora’s Cave release, Copping A Feel (my first ever contemporary erotic romantic comedy without a demon, shifter or alien to be seen. There is however, a really really sexy Aussie cop 😉 )
A standalone title in the Cougar Challenge series.
Darci-Rae Whitlam doesn’t know which is more disturbing, receiving scads of obscene phone calls—or getting so turned-on by said phone calls. Then there’s the email from her American friend, Rachel, taunting Darci with something called a Cougar Challenge. Just the thought of seducing a younger man is enough to permanently soak her knickers. No wonder her ever-disapproving sister thinks she’s oversexed!
Cybercrime Detective Jarrod St. James is investigating a case of stolen identity. He quickly learns the fiery redhead claiming to be Darci-Rae Whitlam is the real deal (his shoulder trapped in the jaws of her gargantuan dog might have sped that decision along). He really should go back to Sydney, continue tracking the imposter who’s operating a phone-sex business in Darci’s name…but the woman proves too tempting. Job be damned, he has to have her. The fact she’s got a titillating challenge to complete only helps his case.
Darci just may be the fastest cougar to snag her cub yet. Being the victim of a crime has never been more fun!
What are you doing, Darci?
Darci walked through the foyer, heading for her living room. Jay Jay trotted beside her, completely at ease with the fact Detective St. James followed behind them.
That itself was worrying. Jay Jay rarely warmed to anyone. Vivian’s husband, the benevolent Dr. Carmichael, CMO of the country’s leading children’s hospital and recipient of the Order of Australia, couldn’t walk two steps into her home without Jay Jay growling up a storm.
So, is that why you’ve asked St. James in? Because Jay Jay’s no longer trying to eat him? Or does it have to do with the way he looks? Like Sin and Sex got together and created your ultimate fantasy? Or maybe it has to do with the way the crotch of your knickers are sopping wet with a desire that borders on illegal? Or the fact the kiss he stole from you when you where pinned beneath him was truly the most wonderful, arousing thing you’ve ever experienced?
Is he the one? Have you targeted your cub already?
Darci pulled a face and entered her living room, all too aware of Jarrod St. James’ presence. “Just let me get my pay slip,” she said, crossing to the bureau under the far window.
St. James didn’t answer and she turned, finding him standing before her framed Rules of Attraction movie poster hanging above Jay Jay’s large day bed, his fingers massaging his shoulder where Jay Jay had bitten him.
She pulled in a silent breath, stealing a brief moment to study him. Tall and lean with broad shoulders and well-muscled arms, he wore his jeans and black polo shirt with the same casual confidence she’d admired in the new Phys. Ed. teacher—a relaxed cockiness that said I’d look this good in a hessian sack.
Unlike Mr. Montgomery, however, Detective St. James seemed totally unaware of it.
No wonder they call him Calvin Klein at the cop shop. He could make a fortune as a model.
As if sensing her gaze, he turned from the movie poster and fixed his thousand-kilowatt blue eyes on her. “Copulating teddy bears?”
For a split second the reason for the controversial poster’s existence in her house hovered on her lips—a present from her favorite senior class five years ago after she’d adamantly and unwisely declared there was no way teddy bears could be vulgar—and then, a shard of characteristic contrariness stabbed into her and she cocked an eyebrow. “Copulating teddy bears.”
He regarded her silently, what looked like a small grin playing at the corners of his mouth.
Her own smile pulling at her lips, she turned back to her bureau, opened the top drawer and withdrew her latest pay slip from the Department of Education.
You’re enjoying yourself, aren’t you?
The thought whispered through her mind and her pulse quickened. What kind of lunatic enjoys a visit from the police? Especially one questioning your identity?
The kind who’s not blind. Have you seen the way he—
“Have you recently purchased anything online using your credit card?”
St. James’ question, spoken with such formal detachment, guttered the rising heat in Darci’s core. Shame and self-disgust flooded through her and she pushed the drawer closed with aggressive force. A cop doing a cop’s job. That’s what she had to remember, no matter how sexy he was. A cop in her living room asking questions. Not a cub waiting to be seduced—or was that devoured—by a cougar.
“Yes,” she answered, turning back to him. “A few things.” She held out her pay slip, waiting for him to take it.
He didn’t, his attention back on the film poster and its teddy bears in various sexual positions. “Was one of those purchases a U.S. visa waiver application?”
A lump formed in Darci’s throat. “Yes.”
His attention didn’t move from the poster. “Why are you going to the U.S., Ms. Whitlam?”
“I’m going to the RomantiCon convention in—” She snapped her mouth shut, her cheeks filling with heat. Oh, you idiot, Darci.
That killer blue gaze returned to her. “RomantiCon?”
Darci fought the urge to fidget. What did she say? Make up some fictional convention? Give him a half explanation? Was omitting the full details to a cop wise?
She lifted her chin slightly, meeting his stare. “It’s a convention for readers and writers of erotic romance.”
St. James’ unreadable expression didn’t change. “Erotic romance.”
Frustrated anger stabbed into Darci’s chest and she met his stare. “Erotic romance.” Here we go again. Someone casting judgment on her. He may be as gorgeous as all hell with the body of a sex god, but he seemed just as opinionated as Vivian. She let out a sharp sigh. So much for fulfilling her Cougar challenge with—
“Can you tell me what site you purchased your visa waiver from?”
Still a detached, professional tone. Darci suppressed the need to fidget again. Why did she feel guilty? Was this how her students felt when she interrogated them over missing homework?
Darci ground her teeth, the ambivalent tone in St. James’ voice putting her on edge. “I can show you,” she said, crossing to the coffee table. She deposited her pay slip beside her closed laptop, angry and worried at once. “I have it bookmarked.”
Her fingertips brushed the cool titanium of her computer just as Jay Jay whined, nudging her leg with his cold, wet nose. “Oh God, mate, I’m sorry.” New guilt rolled through her. She’d totally forgotten he was still in the house. She scruffed his ears, shooting St. James a quick look. “We were on our way to the park when I opened the door and you…” She faltered a second, swallowing the words “grabbed me” before they could fall from her tongue. “Arrived.”
The Sydney detective said nothing.
Patting Jay Jay again, she skirted the coffee table and headed toward the back of her house. “I’ll just let him out and be right back.”
St. James nodded once, still silent, and Darci hurried from the living room, a prickling sensation telling her that his stare was fixed firmly on her back. She should be excited. This was what she’d wanted, wasn’t it? The undivided attention of a younger man? Isn’t that really why she’d invited him in?
So why was she so…unsettled? Damn it, what was going on? She didn’t like this feeling of…of… Damn it! She couldn’t even find a word to define the feeling she felt! Argh!
Unbolting the back door, she pushed it wide, giving her small backyard a quick scan before turning to her dog. “Cop or not,” she muttered, “if you hear me shout, come and bite his sexy ass off, okay?”