Authors: Nicki Night
Will he be the last Barrington bachelor left standing?
Unlucky in love, Manhattan attorney Alana Thomas has to face the facts: Mr. Right doesn't exist. The only one who ever came close was Drew Barrington. Now the international motorcycle legend is back in town...and ready to fan some serious flames. Tempted as she is, Alana knows that breaking her no-dating rule with the sexy playboy rebel could also break her heart.
A family crisis brought Drew back to the United States. But hooking up with the woman he has always fantasized about could make this a homecoming to remember. From glittering city penthouses to a sprawling Long Island estate, Drew pursues Alana with a passion that gradually melts her defenses. Together, can they rewrite the laws of love?
“What?” she questioned him. He simply smiled. “Why are you looking at me like that?”
“You're a beautiful woman.”
Alana cleared her throat. “Thanks.” She sat coyly with her eyes cast downward as she fiddled with the handle of her bag!
“Oh, now you're shy?” Drew teased.
“Whatever, Drew!” Alana pulled the door handle to get out.
Drew grabbed her arm to stop her. When she turned, he leaned toward her and kissed her lips. At first Alana didn't move, but Drew refused to let go. Pulling her closer, he kissed her again and continued kissing her until she kissed him back. Drew slid his hand behind her head and deepened the kiss. Her hand rested on his chest. When Drew finally released her, he had to catch his breath.
Alana sat back for a moment. Drew sat back as well, giving her a moment to collect herself. Alana licked her lips, which made Drew smile.
“I need to catch my train.” Alana stepped out of the car.
“Have a good day.” Drew's eyes followed her up the escalator and onto the platform before he took off. He was getting closer.
I hope you will enjoy getting to know the feisty Alana Tate and the handsome rebel Drew Barrington. Have fun taking this journey around the world as their love affair unfolds.
Alana has always been a hopeful romantic until her latest beau dumps her via text message. Now, she's losing hope about one day finding her prince. She makes up a list of rules to protect her heart. However, Drew Barrington has never been the kind of man that plays by the rules. Just when it seems he's successful in breaking down the barriers to her heart, an old flame returns to town. And she's got her eye on him along with a career opportunity of a lifetime.
Find out if the rebel player can be tamed, if the old flame can reignite Drew's fire or if Alana will finally get her prince. Enjoy the ride!
is an edgy hopeless romantic who enjoys creating stories of love and new possibilities. Nicki has a penchant for adventure and is currently working on penning her next romantic escapade. Nicki resides in the city dreams are made of, but occasionally travels to her treasured seaside hideaway to write in seclusion. She enjoys hearing from readers and can be contacted on Facebook, through her website at
, or via email at
Books by Nicki Night
Harlequin Kimani Romance
Her Chance at Love
His Love Lesson
Riding into Love
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This book is dedicated to my Hero, Les Flagler.
Thank you for sharing me with my passion.
As always, I must start by giving honor to my Lord
and Savior Jesus Christ for the gifts and blessings he has given to me. Now, for everyone else who has been an integral part of this amazing journey: my editorial team, Glenda Howard and Shannon Criss, thanks so much for investing in me. To my agent Sara Camili, I hope this “marriage” lasts forever! To my author-girlfriend, Zuri Day, and my fellow Harlequin Kimani Romance writing sisters and brothers, thank you for your acceptance. I love being a part of this amazing network. To Brenda Jackson, Beverly Jenkins, Donna Hill and Jacqueline Thomas, thank you for always being the wonderful women that you authentically are. I adore each of you. To my street team, thank you for helping me spread the word. To LaSheera Lee, thank you for your professionalism. You rock! To Les, my boo, my friend, my hubby and my biggest cheerleader, thank you for being fantastic. To my kids, Les, Milan and Laila, you are my inspiration. I hope I impress you. To my siblings, my gals, readers and book clubs nationwide, thanks a gazillion! Where would I be without your support? I dunno! Bryant Carrington, thank you so much for helping make this story authentic with all the super cool information about the world of motorcycles and racing. I sure hope I didn't leave anyone out. However, if I failed to mention your name, please know that I thank you and love you, and that you rock!
lana stormed into Payne, Tate and Associates, the law office she now shared with her best friend, Cadence, marched into her personal office and slammed the door behind her. Tossing her purse and laptop bag on the chair, she paced, her hands parked on her hips as she tried to control her heaving chest. She mumbled inaudibly before a light tap followed by Cadence's cautious entrance brought her out of her personal rage fest.
Cadence quietly walked in and closed the door behind her. “What's gotten you so uptight this morning? You blew through here like a tornado.”
“I can't believe he did this!” Alana waved her cell phone in her hand before snatching her bags from the chair and placing them on the large cherrywood desk. She flopped into the chair.
“Who did what?” Cadence sat in one of the two chairs facing Alana's desk.
“James!” Alana sucked her teeth. “Can you believe that jerk broke up with me by text! By text!” she yelled. Her voice cracked. “Such a freaking coward! He said he can't do this anymore. He needs space. I smothered him too much.”
“That's horrible.” Cadence reached for Alana's hand.
Alana sighed. “Things have changed between us recently. I don't know what happened.”
“Alana! You didn't tell me that.” Cadence's hand went to her heart.
“I know. That's why we didn't show up last Sunday for the dinner you and Blake had to celebrate Hunter and Chey's engagement. He was supposed to show up at three. By six, he still hadn't returned my calls or responded to any of my texts. I was so pissed that I wanted to throw my phone but decided he wasn't worth the deductible I would have had to pay to get it replaced if it broke. I didn't hear from him until ten that night. I was furious.” Alana's hands were balled into fists.
“Ten o'clock! Are you serious?” Cadence stood. Now she paced. “Thatâ”
“Exactly!” Alana pounded her hand against the desk and stood too. “I said to him, âListen, Jackie,' which you know is my code word for
, and I lit into him so bad he was quiet for, like, a full minute before he spoke again. All his idiotic behind had to say was sorry. No viable explanation. Nothing! After being together for almost a year, I deserve more than just a weak apology.”
Cadence's mouth opened, but she said nothing. She closed it again, shook her head and folded her arms across her chest. Alana raged on about all of the follow-up arguments they'd had for the remainder of the week.
“Did you respond to the text?”
“I left him a nice-nasty message. If he can't be man enough to end our relationship face-to-face or at least pick up the phone, then he was never man enough for me anyway. He just needs to lose my number and my address and forget my name.” Alana sat back down. She placed her elbows on her desk and rested her head in her hands. “I'm done. I don't even want to date anymore. I think I'll just put a band on my finger and tell any man who tries to hit on me that I'm married. I don't even want to be bothered.”
“Oh no!” Cadence rounded Alana's desk and sat on it. She gripped Alana by the shoulders and looked into Alana's dejected eyes. “No matter what happened, you were always the one to remain hopeful. You always said your knight was out there waiting for you somewhere and you didn't mind rolling with a few frogs to find them because you knew he'd be worth it.”
“I said that?” Alana chuckled.
“Yep. Always twisting up clichÃ©s to make your point, but I get it. I listened to you when you told me to keep living and practically pushed me on Blake.” Cadence snickered. “And now, look, we're getting married.”
“Well, I was wrong. I'm sick of these damn frogs. Screw that knight. If he is so worth it, then why do I have to swim through all this filthy pond water to find him?” Alana clucked her teeth. “He needs to come find me, shoot! I'm done, Cay,” Alana said, calling her friend by the nickname she'd given her years ago.
“You can't be done. What if your prince is next?”
Alana craned her neck and looked at Cadence incredulously. “What the hell did you do with my best friend? Surely you aren't Cadence with all this âkeep hope alive' talk.”
“I'm serious, Alana. Don't shut down. I did the same thing and it wasn't fun. I buried myself in work to keep from being lonely, but the more time I spent alone, the more I thought about all that things that went wrong with Kenny and me. I'd gotten over him but didn't get over the feeling of failing in my relationship. That's why I avoided dating. When I listened to you and started dating Blake, it was as if I started living againâlaughing again. Trust me. That's not what you want. As outgoing as you are, you'd go completely crazy.”
Alana put her head down. Both were quiet for several moments. “I don't know. This hurts so much. I thought he was
, Cadence. I can't go through this again anytime soon. I'd love to have what you've found in Blake, but I'm starting to believe that's not for everyone.”
Cadence hugged Alana, pulled back and searched her eyes. “You want the truth?”
Alana looked forlorn. “Sure. Why not?” She sighed.
“You fall for men very hard and fast. You have so much to offer the right man, but you have to learn to ease into relationships. Otherwise you scare men off. Save it for the right one. He'll deserve it and he'll appreciate you.”
Alana breathed deeply and blew out an exasperated breath. Cadence was right. She hated to think of the number of men who'd left for the same exact reason. “So I need to be a little more discerning with my heart, huh?” Feeling raw, she chuckled timidly.
Cadence tilted her head sideways and nodded.
“I'll think about it. I still believe I need to take a break.”
“Fine! Take a short one,” Cadence offered. “And then get back out there and keep on living just like you told me to do.”
“If I do get back out there, I'm going to keep my feelings at bay. If this next frog doesn't deserve my love, I'm keeping it on lockdown. Alsoâ” Alana held her finger up as if she'd just received an epiphany “âI won't give him any of the good fruit! Not unless he proves himself worthy. This way, great sex won't cloud my judgment. James was great in bed...” Alana closed her eyes and moaned.
“Uh...” Cadence interrupted Alana's apparent moment. “I'm still standing here!”
Alana blushed and laughed hard. Cadence joined her and they could hardly stop themselves.
“See what I mean? Good sex will warp the mind, girl.” She chuckled some more. “And lastly, I need to steer clear of known players. I think I'm intrigued by the idea of snagging a player. James was a player at first, and I'm willing to bet that other women had something to do with the fact that he went missing without an explanation.”
“Sounds like a plan.”
“Yep, that's it! I'll take some time for me and get back into the game. No falling too hard too fast, no sex and no players. That should save me some heartbreak. No man will ever be able to say that I've smothered him again.”
“Good! Now, how do you feel?”
“I still feel horrible.” Alana frowned. “I'll get over himâeventually. We actually had fun together.” Alana looked at the clock on her desk that was a gift from a client. “We've got work to do. These clients can't represent themselves.”
“You're right.” Cadence lifted herself from Alana's desk and headed for the door. Just as she was about to walk through, she turned back toward Alana. “Oh, are you going to be free this Saturday?”
“I guess.” Alana shrugged.
“Great! Then you can come by. Blake told me this morning that Drew will be in town this weekend and he and Hunter are thinking about having a get-together for Drew's birthday. Shall I count you in?”
Alana forced a smile as Cadence departed but didn't answer. The last thing she needed after this unofficial breakup with James was to be in the same room as the most flirtatious Barrington ever. Drew was an international player. Alana had witnessed his techniques up close for years. She had even entertained his advances and dated him for a short stint, which didn't end well. They made better friends. Admittedly, she enjoyed his flirting, but it was time for a change. Alana was done kissing frogsâespecially gorgeous ones who were allergic to commitment and so skilled in bed that they could render her deaf and dumb.
Alana was also tired of heartbreak. Right there in her office, she made a personal vow to be more protective of her own heart. She wasn't breaking her rules for any manâespecially not Drew Barrington.