Authors: Cathryn Fox
Text copyright ©2016 by the Author.
This work was made possible by a special license through the Kindle Worlds publishing program and has not necessarily been reviewed by CP Publishing. All characters, scenes, events, plots and related elements appearing in the original Dare To Love Series remain the exclusive copyrighted and/or trademarked property of CP Publishing, or their affiliates or licensors.
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A Tempting Dare
Another year, another family reunion.
Seated at one of the many rented tables strategically placed around the impressive back gardens of her parents’ Hampton estate, Kathryn Quinn pinched the bridge of her nose and took in the boisterous crowd. Even though it was only a few minutes past noon, many of her aunts, uncles, and cousins were already drinking heavily. The younger kids—hyped up on sugar—ran around and screeched like it was Halloween and they were being chased by Michael Myers. Kat cringed. She was
not ever having kids, or getting married.
A fluttery sigh escaped her lips as she leaned back in her white wicker lawn chair, wanting nothing more than to be back in her Miami condo, preparing her files for the divorce hearing she’d be presenting to the courts next week.
“Why the hell do I put myself through this?” she muttered, the lovely scent of lilac and roses from the nearby bushes doing little to lighten her mood.
“Oh, come on, Kat. It’s not so bad,” Emery said.
Kat’s head jerked around, and she glared at her best friend as she flattened her hands on the small glass-top table separating them. As the late August sun beat down on them, Kat leaned forward to shade herself with the yellow overhead umbrella. Her dark hair fell over her shoulders as she retaliated with, “‘Not so bad.’ You’re kidding, right?”
Emery shrugged and toyed with the stem of her crystal glass. “Free alcohol, free food, free fodder for my next book.” She took a sip of wine, opened her mouth to say something else, then paused and angled her head. When a slow smile stretched across her fuchsia lips, Kat followed her gaze until it fell over none other than her big brother’s best friend, Sebastian James, aka sports medicine doctor for the Miami Thunder.
Kat lost all train of thought as she blatantly gawked. Jesus, no man should ever look that good—especially one who still treated her like a child. Sebastian stood facing a pretty blonde, a stranger to Kat, and when he laughed at something the girl said, the deep, rich sound reverberated through Kat’s body and settled between her legs.
Kat smoothed her palm over her spaghetti strap sundress and glared at the woman flirting obnoxiously with Sebastian.
Get a room already
. The blonde’s fingers went to Sebastian’s hard chest, and his big palm swallowed it whole as he closed his hand over hers. His other hand went to his forehead, and he raked thick dark hair away from his face, only for it to fall back into his eyes again. Kat hated too-long hair on men, but for some reason, Sebastian managed to pull it off
make it look sexy.
Sebastian leaned into the woman and whispered something into her ear. The blonde threw her head back and giggled. Kat narrowed her gaze, instantly disliking her. Who the hell was this woman, and what was it about the way she was touching Sebastian that pissed Kat off? Heck, she had no right to be possessive or jealous. She didn’t even like the guy.
As the woman touched him inappropriately at her family’s yearly reunion, Kat’s gaze dropped from Sebastian’s chiseled face and leisurely traveled downward to take in a light blue T-shirt that stretched across broad shoulders. Damned if the man didn’t ooze sex appeal like none other. Her gaze continued down his long stretch of body, stopping to examine worn jeans that hung loose on his hips but did little to hide the hardness of his thighs. As she zeroed in on the spot just below his belt, Kat’s heart sped up, and another flutter slipped passed her lips—for entirely different reasons this time.
One of her young cousins yelled, and it snapped her out of her reverie. Her glance raced back to his face, and as if sensing her eyes on him, his gaze lifted. When those translucent blue eyes of his locked onto hers, and he smiled, showcasing perfect, white teeth that likely nipped and nibbled in the bedroom, a strangled noise caught in Kat’s throat. His grin widened, like he knew she’d been checking him out.
With his gaze still latched on Kat’s, he stepped closer to the blonde. Kat sucked in a breath and quickly broke the connection. “Fodder all right,” she mumbled, hoping like hell Emery hadn’t noticed the way she was ogling her brother’s best friend—the jerk. Emery took another sip of merlot, and Kat reached for her glass, needing to wet her suddenly parched throat.
“He’s like the perfect romance hero, isn’t he?” Emery said, her voice a breathless whisper as she admired Sebastian from the other side of the gardens.
Kat pulled herself together and laughed. “Uh, he’s hardly hero material. The guy is like the neighborhood bicycle. Almost every woman back in Miami has taken him for a ride.”
“Everyone but you.”
Her head jerked up. “What?”
“Oh, come on.” Emery’s brow arched as she waved her hand. “I see the way you look at him.”
Kat gave a hard shake of her head. Even though Emery still lived in the Hampton’s, and they only saw each other a few times a year, her friend could still read her like an open book. “You’re out of your mind if you think I want him. I don’t even like him.”
Emery gave her a dubious look as she tapped her finger on the table. “Maybe not, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to hop on his
cycle and go for a ride.”
Kat narrowed her eyes. “Even if I did— which I don’t— he’s never shown an ounce of interest in me. He thinks of me as Danny’s kid sister.” She leaned toward her friend and lowered her voice when a wobbly aunt Judy walked past their table, the wine in her glass sloshing over the sides. “He still calls me Kitty Kat, for God’s sake.”
“Then show him you’re all grown up.” Kat opened her mouth to counter, but Emery cut her off. “Look, all I’m saying is this… You’re stuck here for the weekend, right?”
“Then seduce Sebastian. Have some fun.”
Fun? What the hell was fun? For the last six years, she’d been working toward her law degree, and now, at twenty-six, with the title of youngest partner at Morash and McKenzie law firm attached to her name, proving herself to the team meant there was no time for a personal life. From sunup until sundown, she specialized in divorce cases, and each night, she fell into bed alone and exhausted. Even if she did have time for a social life, she wouldn’t waste it chasing after Sebastian.
“I’m not suggesting marriage or anything.” Emery rolled her eyes. “I know you don’t believe in romance or happily ever after.”
“Says the romance writer who is waiting to be swept off her feet by her very own Prince Charming.”
Emery pursed her lips and lifted her chin an inch higher. “Someday I’ll find my soul mate.”
“No such thing,” Kat countered quickly, giving a dismissive wave of her hand.
A dreamy look came over Emery’s face. “They say you can tell if a guy is your one true love by that first kiss.”
“I have no idea who
are, but I don’t believe that for a second,” she shot back.
Emery laughed. “Your job has given you trust issues.”
Trust issues? Of course she had trust issues.
Not only did she see the seedy side of marriage day in and day out, but every single one of the self-serving jerks she dated in the past had cheated on her. Her job required late hours, and instead of supporting her career, they’d eventually found comfort in another woman’s bed. Loyal, supportive guys just didn’t exist anymore.
“And your job has left you believing in Happily Ever After,” she countered. “It doesn’t exist, Emery, and the sooner you realize that, the better off you’ll be.”
Emery pointed. “Look at your folks. Married for thirty-five years. Still as happy as ever.”
Kat rolled one shoulder. “They’re the exception. It’s their teamwork that keeps them together.”
“Yeah. For any relationship to be successful, the parties must work with each other, not against each other. They need to become allies in all aspects of their relationships. I think over half the divorces I negotiated could have been prevented if the people had seen each other as equals and coordinated their efforts to help one another. The foundation of any good marriage is friendship and teamwork. My parent’s have that, but it’s rare.”
“So you’re saying true love and a happily ever after
exist,” Kat challenged.
“What I’m saying is I’m not going to seduce Sebastian. I don’t even like him.”
“Right, you don’t like him.” She pointed her finger. “And in two seconds, your aunt Judy isn’t about to fall flat on her ass.”
Kat spun around in time to see Judy stumble then fall flat on her ass. Damn.
“I dare you.”
Kat’s head jerked back around to take in Emery’s smug look. “What?
“I dare you to seduce him into your bed and have some much deserved fun this weekend. I mean come on, if he insists on calling you Kitty Kat, then he should at least make you purr a time or two.”
Kat nearly choked on her wine. The only purring in her life came from her battery-operated friend. None of the men she’d been with had ever brought her to orgasm. But damned if she didn’t want that. What would it be like to be in bed with a man who knew how to touch a woman’s body—correction—her body? A man with skilled hands. Deft. Determined. Like that of a capable doctor. She gulped air as her nipples tingled and tightened in anticipation.
Emery grinned. “Yeah, I can really tell you don’t like him.”
Get yourself together, girl!
“I don’t,” she countered. “And you’re crazy if you think I’m going to seduce Miami’s biggest player.”
“No Kat, you’re crazy if you don’t.”
Honest to God, was Emery for real? Had she really dared her to seduce Sebastian into her bed? It was crazy—ludicrous, right? She’d never before considered having sex with her brother’s best friend.
She glanced down to see if her pants were on fire. Okay, so maybe she
envisioned herself in bed with him a time or two, or a million.
Emery stared at her over the rim of her wineglass. “What happened to you, anyway?”
“What are you talking about?”
“You used to be more adventurous.”
Kat laughed. “Yeah, I know. I always had a plan or scheme when I was young. But if you remember, they always backfired.”
“True, and I guess we’re not kids anymore. But that doesn’t mean we can’t still be adventurous.”
Seduce Sebastian. Have some fun.
Her gaze drifted past the rose bushes and once again landed on Sebastian, only this time, he was alone. As she took in his tanned skin, a desperate sort of ache tugged between her legs. Maybe her friend was right. She worked hard. Too hard. Maybe she did deserve to have some much needed fun at this dreadful reunion. And maybe, just maybe, Sebastian was the one man who could finally make her purr.
Why the fuck is Kat looking at me like that?
Sebastian twisted the cap off a cold beer, tossed the metal lid into the trash, and took a long pull from the bottle—a last ditch effort to push back the heat racing through his blood. He had no idea what was going on between Kat and her best friend, Emery, but from the mischievous look in their eyes, he guessed the two were bored out of their minds and looking for trouble. He scoffed and shook his head. Sweet little Kitty Kat didn’t need to go looking for trouble. She
trouble. Since the day she’d celebrated her sixteenth birthday, she’d been nothing but a huge pain in his ass. Among other body parts.
He could remember her sweet sixteenth like it was yesterday. She’d come down the winding stretch of stairs wearing nothing but a barely there white dress that showcased tanned skin, long legs, and sexy curves. Every guy at her party stood at attention, and as Sebastian stared, it became blatantly apparent that she wasn’t a kid anymore. Oh no, his little Kitty Kat had blossomed into a sexy tigress who tempted him in the worst fucking ways. As her brother’s best friend, and six years her senior, he shouldn’t have looked—or drooled—but holy fuck, she was stunning, mesmerizing…the most beautiful woman he’d ever set eyes on.
Sebastian drove his hands into his pants and rocked on the balls of his feet as the midday sun pounded down on him. Moisture grew on his brow and he adjusted himself, briefly closing his eyes as he marshaled his cock into submission. Fuck. The last thing he needed was to be walking around the Quinn estate during a reunion, sporting the hard-on of the century. His gaze drifted to the pool. If it weren’t filled with kids, he’d jump in, clothes and all, and stay under the water until he either drowned or got his head back on straight. He took another swig of his beer and tried to keep his attention off Kat and the way her eyes were drilling into him.
Seriously, though… What the hell was going on with her? They were close as kids, and he’d always made time to play games with her. But after she turned sixteen, she’d barely spared him a glance. Sure, he’d promised her a dance that night, but fuck. There was no way in hell he could have taken her in his arms, not with the war going on between his legs. After that, whenever he entered a room, she left. One thing was for certain, she no longer liked him—the crush of a sixteen-year-old gone—which was a good thing. It made staying away that much easier. So why then, was her gaze suddenly locked on him with deadly precision?
“There you are,” Danny said, putting his hand on Sebastian’s shoulder. “I’ve been looking everywhere for you.”
Sebastian locked his knees and tried for normal. “Yeah, why? What’s up?”
“Time for the tug-of-war.”
He groaned. “Come on. I thought you were going to let me off the hook this year.”
“Not a chance, pal.” Danny stood eye to eye with him and poked Sebastian in the chest. “This family is as much yours as it is mine. If I have to do it, you have to as well.”
Danny laughed and nudged Sebastian with his shoulder to set him into motion. Sebastian followed along, walking past the numerous tents set up for the young ones to crash in. The house was big enough to sleep everyone, but the kids liked being outside. He sidestepped Trevor as he stuffed his face with a hot dog and made his way to the event, even though he’d rather remove his toenails with pliers than partake in the Quinn family games. But like Danny said, this family was as much his as it was Danny’s.
The two guys had been best friends since kindergarten, and after his father had passed away and his mother had spent years grieving—barely able to function—Danny’s folks, Tristan and Janice, had taken him under their wings. All through high school, they’d been there for him, and even after he and Danny had gone off to Harvard Medical School after college, they’d never stopped nurturing or treating him like he was one of their own.
While he and Danny might not be blood, they were family—all the more reason to stay away from Kat. Christ, if Danny knew Sebastian had been lusting after his kid sister for close to ten years now, not only would it get him a proper ass-kicking, it would ruin their friendship. Since he loved Danny like a brother—he’d never do anything to hurt the guy—and cared a great deal for his family, it meant Kat was hands-off all the way.
Speaking of all the way…
Images of him and Kat between the sheets crashed through him. Christ, what he’d do to taste those pouty lips of hers, working his way down her body, licking every sweet inch of her skin until his mouth found the spot it craved the most. A groan he had no control over caught in his throat.
“Come on. It won’t be so bad,” Danny said, misinterpreting the sound. “You know mom and dad live for this day. And if you want to finally win the trophy from me”—he paused to drive his thumb into his chest—“the current Quinn family reigning games champion, then you have to play along.”
The competitiveness in him came out. “Yeah, well you can kiss the championship good-bye this year. It’s mine.”
A group of kids and adults were gathered in the gardens, each taking up position on either side of the rope. The noise level reached an all new high as everyone laughed and goaded the members on the opposite team.
“You’re going down, Danny,” a pubescent Jesse screamed as he flexed his barely-there biceps.
“Sebastian, over here,” young cousin Andrew called out.
Sebastian stepped in behind Andrew, taking up the anchor position, while Danny joined the opposite team, stepping into the same spot.
“I think we can take them this year,” Andrew said.
Sebastian grinned at the boy. “We got this, kid.” He gathered the rope in his hands and waited for Tristan Quinn to blow the starting whistle.
“Oh, wait for me,” a female voice called out.
Kat slid between him and cousin Andrew and Sebastian eyed the back of her head. Since when did Kat get involved in tug-of-war? She wiggled a little and wrapped her hand around the rope. Her sweet ass brushed up against his groin as the floral scent of her shampoo reached his nostrils. He breathed her in and struggled to keep his shit together, but there was nothing he could do to keep his cock from rising to the occasion. Awesome. Just fucking awesome. He inched back, needing to put a measure of distance between them, but she followed him step for step.
She glanced at him over her shoulder. “Am I holding this right?” she asked, running her hands along the rope in a manner that mimicked a hand job. What the fuck? His cock swelled. Down boy. Kat wiggled against him again, and he nearly bit off his tongue. Okay, time to get his shit together and figure out what she was up to.
He cleared his throat. “What are you doing, Kat?”
“Just trying to get into position.”
If she kept wiggling her ass at him, he’d be getting her into position, all right. And that position would be her bent over the mattress, and him pounding into her.
The whistle blew and he planted his feet, but how the fuck was he supposed to concentrate with Kat pressing up against him? He tugged, and the other team answered with a hard pull of their own. His team reared back, and they gained a few inches of ground. Cheers erupted, but the only sound he could focus on was the sexy, little whimpering noise coming from Kat.
She angled her head, and that pouty, little mouth of hers puckered as she said, “Harder, Sebastian.”
Oh, fuck. What he’d do to pull those words from her in the bedroom. He briefly pinched his eyes shut, and his thoughts wandered.
Don’t imagine it. Don’t imagine it.
He imagined it.
Completely thrown off his game, he slipped, dragging his entire team down with him. Kat fell backward and landed firmly on his stiff cock. She squirmed, giving him a good hard rub.
Sweet mother of God.
His hands went to her shoulders. But did he help her up or push her off? Hell no! Instead, he pressed down on her, fucking dry-humping her in the middle of the gardens for all to see. One working brain cell screamed at him. He groaned and quickly let her go. She rolled to face him, and her lush breasts pushed against his erection as she firmly planted herself between his legs.
“Are you okay?” she asked.
“Yeah,” he moaned, sure he would never be okay again. “You?”
She touched her shoulder, and those sweet breasts jiggled. “I’m not sure. I think I might have pulled something. I’m a little sore.”
“Maybe you could get Danny to check that out for you.” Christ, was that his voice?
“Maybe,” she said, but he didn’t like the mischievous look that came over her face. He had no idea what she was up to, but he’d be damned if he’d be a part of it. “Or maybe, you could do it,” she said.
All around them, people started climbing to their feet, laughing and taking jibes from the other team. “You should get up,” he said.
“Oh, right.” Kat put her arms on either side of his waist and pushed herself up, giving him an up close and unobstructed view of her cleavage in the process.
Don’t look, dude. Don’t look.
Jesus, her breasts were perfect. Not too big, not too small. All soft and lush and just the right size for his mouth. His throat dried and he wet his lips, eager for a taste.
“What the hell happened to you?” Danny asked, reaching out to give him a hand up.
Sebastian took the offered hand and Danny tugged. “Slipped.” He stood, and in need of a distraction, brushed imaginary grass from his clothes.
Danny tossed his arm around Kat’s shoulder. “Little sis wasn’t messing with you, was she? Trying to throw you off your game. We all know how much trouble she can be.”
Kat elbowed Danny in the gut, and he let loose a loud
. “I’m not so little, Danny. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m all grown up.”
“Okay, Miss All Grown Up. Since when did you play tug-of-war, anyway?” Danny asked her.
“I was wondering the same thing,” Sebastian grumbled.
Kat shrugged and wiggled her fingers. “The teams seemed uneven and I thought Sebastian could use a hand.”
Oh, he could use a hand, all right—right on his dick.
Emery stepped up to them, laughing. “Good job, Sebastian.” She gestured with a nod. “Maybe you’ll have better luck with the three-legged race.”
He raked his hair back as his gaze wandered across the gardens to those lining up at the starting line. “I think I’ll sit that one out.”
“There you are,” Zoe said, her too-high heels catching in the soft grass as she came toward him. “I go to get a drink and come back, and you’re gone.” She put her hand on his arm and touched him like they were long-time lovers. They weren’t. He’d only just met her an hour ago.
“I was needed for the tug-of-war,” he explained.
“Not that he was any help,” Danny said, laughing. “Not sure what’s gotten into you today. I’m a few points up, so if you stand half a chance at beating me at the three-legged race, you’d better find yourself a good partner.” Danny looked at his sister. “Kat, I don’t believe you met Zoe.”
Kat smiled, but Sebastian knew her well enough to know it was forced. Jesus, if he didn’t know better, he’d think she was jealous. But he did know better, right?
Kat extended her hand. “No, we haven’t met yet.”
Without taking her fingers off his arm, Zoe plastered on a brilliant smile and held out her free hand. After a quick shake, she pulled it back. “So you’re Kat. I’ve heard a lot about you.”
Kat turned those big dark eyes on him. They narrowed as she stared accusingly. “Oh yeah? What exactly have you heard?”
Tendons taut, Sebastian held his hands up. “Nothing from me. Zoe and I just met.”
“Zoe,” cousin Peter yelled. With his bathing suit dripping, he wiped his face with a towel and closed the distance. “I’ve been looking all over for you. I thought you were getting changed to come swimming.”
Zoe’s hand fell from Sebastian’s bicep, and her smile wobbled. Peter slipped his arm around her waist and pulled her close, a possessive move, but hey, no need to get controlling. Sebastian wasn’t hitting on her. In fact, it was the other way around.
“I guess you’ve all met Zoe. My fiancé,” he said as he zeroed in on Sebastian.
“We have,” Kat returned, her voice tight. Too tight. Sebastian dipped his head and studied her stance as she glared at the other woman. What the hell did Kat have against Zoe? She didn’t even know her—he didn’t think.
“Are you coming swimming?” Peter asked his fiancé.
She flashed a smile Sebastian’s way. “Actually, I think we’re pairing up for the three-legged race.”
Shit. Peter looked like he was ready to kill him. Time to make his exit.
“That’s right,” Kat said, slipping her hand into Sebastian’s. “And like Danny said, if Sebastian stands half a chance of winning against him, he needs a good partner.”
She dragged him away. When they were out of earshot, he relaxed. “Thanks,” he said and brushed his thumb over the soft skin on her hand.
“What are you thanking me for?”
“For getting me out of there.”
“I thought you would have been all over that.”