Lush Velvet Nights – a Reviewer Top Pick!!
Just had to share my good news. The Pagan and the Pen Review Site has given Lush Velvet Nights its Reviewer Top Pick designation.
Reviewer Kim Earley wrote:
When I see a title from Ellora’s Cave, it doesn’t take much thought to snatch it up. I’ve never read anything by Tina Donahue before, but after reading Lush Velvet Nights, she’ll be on the top of my must read list!
The characters jump off the page and straight into your heart, and the story line is romantic, pulling you in from the first page. Adriana is an heiress, but far from spoiled. Tired of dealing with men that want her for her money, she makes a first attempt at hiring an escort service to fulfill a kidnapping fantasy. Nathan unknowingly rescues her from her would-be attacker, and instead of being repulsed by her hiring the escort service, he finds his attraction to her such that he decides to step into the kidnapper’s place, and takes her to his mountain estate.
Adriana is flawed, she’s strong, and she believes wholeheartedly in the love she’s found with Nathan. Nathan is a hedonist, fearful of any sort of commitment. His words tell her from the first moment that this is a non-relationship, that it’s no strings. She agrees, but longs (at one point weeps, saying to her father figure, “I lied, I want strings.”) for Nathan to return her love. Will Adriana change Nathan’s mind about love, and reach his heart?
Lush Velvet Nights has made it to my Reviewers Top Picks and is likely to stay there for quite some time. Steamy sex, fantasy pleasures, and characters that pull you into their lives and their hearts will have you reaching for Lush Velvet Nights again and again. This one is a must-read!
AND HERE’S THE EXCERPT KIM SPEAKS ABOUT WITH ADRIANA’S FATHER FIGURE:
She maintained the awkward silence until he headed for the exit to her office. “Wait,” she said, her voice edgy. “Do you mind taking me home? I’ll have my secretary pick me up in the morning.”
Nathan turned off his signal and kept his tone mild despite the delay in getting home to his well-stocked wet bar. “Where do you live?”
She gave him the directions.
Her white, two-story Spanish-style home was lovely though modest by Beverly Hills standards. He swung the Rover onto the circular stone drive, stopping at the intricately carved front door. “Don’t forget this.” He tapped the jug of hot chocolate he’d bought her before they left for the basin.
She pulled the container onto her lap, along with her purse. “Did I thank you for it?”
He recalled her bruising kiss and stopped himself from smiling. “I have a vague recollection that you did.”
Her chuckle sounded nervous and uncomfortable. A pulse in his throat drummed too quickly. He should have offered to walk her to the door but could not. If she invited him inside, he might accept and delay their inevitable and final parting. Ignoring her, he glanced at the numerous palm trees on her grounds, the fronds swaying in the gentle breeze. He willed her from his vehicle.
She didn’t move. Nathan knew she was waiting for him to look at her, acknowledge her, speak to her.
He could not. He kept his face turned away.
At last she murmured, “I want to do this again.”
His fingers tightened around the steering wheel. Tears pricked the corners of his eyes at the passion in her quiet voice, the ache in his heart. He pushed back sentiment and lust, and shook his head. “No you don’t.”
“Yes I do.”
He looked at her finally and made his voice sharp. “You don’t know what you’re saying, Adriana. You don’t know what kind of man I am.”
Her expression and tone remained serene as though she knew she’d made the correct decision. “I know enough. I want to do this again. No strings,” she added quickly, “just a good time. Whatever you want to do. Surprise me.”
He pressed his thumb so hard against the steering wheel he wondered if his knuckle would pop. At the same time, he had an insane urge to laugh…and when he was through to seek comfort in her arms. Idiot. She needed a better man than he could ever be.
Gently, she cleared her throat, her nervousness returned. “I know you had a good time this weekend.”
“And that’s all it was, Adriana.”
Hurt passed across her face at his uncaring tone. She pushed it away and shrugged in mock indifference. “And that’s what this will be. A good time. What do you have to lose?”
He didn’t want to consider the repercussions to his heart or admit them to her, so he lied, “I’m not worried about me.”
She arched one brow. “Well, don’t worry about me, either. I can take care of myself. What’s the big deal, Nathan, don’t you think you can satisfy me again?”
He laughed at the absurdity of her words. “Oh shit, don’t even go there.”
“Then you do. Well, prove it. Consider this a challenge. Do your absolute worst or best, however you want to look at it.”
She hadn’t a clue what she was asking of him and how hard he found it to say no. Funny thing though, he couldn’t utter the word. No strings, she’d promised, just a good time. Maybe he should show her the kind he usually had so the sexual world he inhabited would end it between them before things got too deep for him.
Awaiting his answer, she leaned closer.
The scent of vanilla on her skin reminded him of their time in the shower, his body pressed against hers, seeking closeness he wouldn’t ask for, warmth he craved and rarely had. His mind returned to their snowball fight, or rather hers, and how she’d shrieked like a little girl as he’d headed for her, pretending to be pissed. Oddly enough, his memory of how she’d scissored her legs to keep him from grabbing her undid his best intentions to save either of them. He inhaled deeply, the muscles in his chest hurting as if he’d run several miles. “Be ready at nine Thursday night. I’ll pick you up here.”
She beamed like a kid who’d just won a trip to Disneyland. “To do what?”
Nathan rested his hand on the side of her neck, skimming her jaw with his thumb. An insatiable urge to pull her into his arms and bury his face in the hollow of her neck returned. His body tensed as he fought it. “It’ll be a surprise, just as you said.” It would be the last time they saw each other. He’d make certain of it.
Her eyes sparkled. She eased his hand from her neck and pressed her lips to his palm in a tender kiss that stalled his heart. Her lips brushed his skin with her whisper, “I can’t wait.”
She had just exited the car and was about to close the passenger door when he spoke in an impassive voice, contradicting his hammering heart. “Wear a blue cocktail dress, Adriana. I want your hair down. And no underwear. Just your garter belt and stockings.”
He drove away without further explanation. Just inside her door, she put the jug of hot chocolate and her purse on a Spanish-style accent table and went to the sweeping wrought-iron staircase, sitting on the third-to-last step.
“Lizzie, is that you?” Joe called out.
She held the Lake Arrowhead magnet to her heart and looked up as he came around the arched doorway. Tall and thin, with gray hair hanging loose to his shoulders, Joe seemed more an aging rock star than a chef. His ratty sneakers, jeans and black-T shirt completed the look.
Adriana took the long serving fork he held out to her. He’d speared two Parmesan-coated meatballs on the prongs, most likely his dinner.
His eyes noted her lack of stockings and messy hair as he joined her on the stairs. “You look…tired. You have a good time at the spa?”
Adriana’s mouth paused around one of the meatballs. Her eyes brimmed with tears.
“What’s wrong?” He rubbed her back. “What happened?”
She was falling in love with a man who feared its consequences above all else, just as her father had avoided intimacy at any level. Unlike him though, Nathan had the capacity to care and still fought his demons. She’d heard his loneliness as he’d spoken to Echo. She’d seen the unhappiness on his face. She also recalled his playfulness when they’d been in the snow, the passion as he’d mounted her, the tenderness when he’d given her what he believed was a birthday present. Her fingers tightened around the magnet, a gift she cherished more than all those she’d gotten in the past. The serving fork drooped in her hand. “I lied.”
Joe kept stroking her back. “About what?”
She squeezed her eyes tight. A tear raced down her cheek. “I want strings.”
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