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Authors: Thayer King

Winning Dawn

BOOK: Winning Dawn
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Winning Dawn

By Thayer King

 

 

Copyright © December 2011, Thayer King

Cover art by Mina Carter © December 2011

ISBN: 978-1-936668-41-0

 

This is a work of fiction. All characters and events portrayed in this novel are fictitious or used fictitiously. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book, or portions thereof, in any form.

 

Sugar and Spice Press

North Carolina, USA

www.sugarnspicepress.com

 

Prologue

 

Dawn Smith glared down at her phone. Nothing. No text or voice messages. No missed calls. “Reggie, you bastard,” she muttered. He knew that her cousin’s dinner party started at eight. Guests had started arriving at seven to mingle. They were Kayla’s and Joshua’s employees, but also their friends. Kayla’s mother, and her aunt, Judge Catherine Lawrence, had flown into North Carolina for a visit to see her daughter. Kayla and Josh had decided to make a special occasion out of it. Dawn and Reggie had been invited and she’d wanted to flaunt her gorgeous man and her new engagement ring. The bastard knew all this and still, he was a no show.

Dawn made her way out of the den to find a private spot where she could make a private call to Reggie and wear out the “F” word. She bumped into Evan Tanner, Joshua’s older brother, in her haste to leave the room. She glared at him and he glared right back.
Arrogant bastard
, she thought. He’d had the nerve to tell her that Reggie was an ass and that she ought to dump him. Who was he to call her fiancé an ass? She could call him that, but that was her privileged right as his woman. Nobody else would insult him and get away with it. And who’d asked for his opinion anyway?

Dawn stood outside of Kayla’s study as she dialed Reggie’s cell. The phone rang several times before going to voice mail. “Where the fuck are you?” she asked after the beep. “You know how important this is to me? You’re embarrassing me! Call me back. And I mean fucking right now!” She snapped her phone closed and released a huff of angry breath.

“Wow, that’s a message I’d be eager to return,” said a sarcastic male voice.

Dawn’s eyes narrowed as she recognized the sexy husky tone. She turned to find Evan Tanner at her back. “Stalk much?”

“You’re standing straight across from the bathroom.”

That much was true. She glared at him anyway. “Men! All you think of is yourselves. You heard me having a private conversation and instead of going back to the den, you decide to hang around and eavesdrop.”

“Just because you’re having troubles with one man, don’t lump us all together.”

“Right now, I’m having troubles with two.”

He ran a hand through his mostly dark brown hair. There was a bit of gray sprinkled throughout, but it was barely noticeable. “I’m sorry I told you the truth earlier.”

Did he actually believe that qualified as an apology? He seemed exasperated and not in the least contrite. “Reggie is not an ass,” she flamed.

“He is,” Evan insisted.

Before she knew it, her hand was flying toward his handsome face. Evan caught it easily and pulled her against the hard wall of his chest. Dawn sucked in her breath. Man, his chest was hard. His loose-fitting dress shirt was hiding some serious musculature. Washboard abs pressed into her soft belly. Her breasts were crushed into impressive pectorals. What was it he did for a living again?

She mentally shook herself. It didn’t matter what he did for a living. Or what his chest felt like. She had a man at home. She opened her mouth to say so, but the words froze in her throat after one look at his face. His features were tight with desire and his smoldering gaze was locked on her lips.
Evan wanted her.
Dawn wet her lips nervously and he groaned and rocked his hips against hers. She let out a gasp. Dear God, all of that could not be his cock.

Maybe it was the different angle. Reggie was average, she guessed. He was the only lover she’d ever had. But he was a foot taller than her. Evan was only a few inches taller than she was, putting him at the perfect height for his cock to nestle between her thighs.

Time seemed to freeze as she wondered what he would do to her. There was no way she could overpower him. Her heart beat erratically in her chest. “I shouldn’t have tried to hit you,” she whispered.

“You think?” He took a deep breath. “I’ll excuse you this time, since I know you’re used to playing with little boys. But I won’t be so forgiving next time. And just so that I know you’ve learned your lesson…” He took her mouth in a searing hot kiss that had her practically melting at his feet.

She’d been kissed by a dozen or so men in her life. None of them commanded a kiss the way Evan did. His lips on hers were not tentative. She knew from the intensity that this was supposed to be a punishment, but she was enjoying it far too much for her peace of mind. Each parry of his tongue with hers had her nipples tightening and her core clenching. Even her fingertips tingled. Her reaction to him frightened her more than his unbreakable hold.

Dawn pulled back, forcing space between their bodies. She retreated until her back was pressed against the wall. She trembled. “No,” she murmured. Her voice was shaky and her legs were wobbly.

He followed her until he hovered over her, his lips barely out of reach. His heated breath mingled with hers. “Yes.” His voice was a husky growl. He angled her head so that her mouth was tilted for his kiss. She turned her face, but he tracked her movements, capturing her lips, his tongue plunging deep.

He swallowed her gasp and thrust his hips at her in a swiveling motion that had her ready to pass out. The bulge of his cock was hitting her in just the right spot. Both his hands slid down to cup her buttocks so that she was pressed tightly against his hard, pulsing erection. She couldn’t suppress her moan. Incredibly, she felt herself climbing toward an orgasm.

She rarely came when she and Reggie made love, yet here she was on the verge of a climax fully clothed.
Reggie.
His name ricocheted through her brain, dousing her passion like a bucket of ice water on a flame. She pushed out of Evan’s embrace. “Oh, my God.” How could she do this to Reggie?

Evan’s dark eyes were lava hot and one glance down told her that he was as hard as ever. The sight of his arousal was the most potent temptation. She longed to wrap her legs around his waist and…. Oh, God. Instead, she stiffened her spine.

“D-don’t you ever touch me like that again. I-I’m an engaged woman.”

He blinked and visibly reined in his lust. He inhaled deeply and raked his hands through his hair. When his hands dropped, he seemed composed. His expression was almost neutral. “I apologize. It won’t happen again,” he said, his tone guttural and deeper than she’d ever heard it. He was careful not to touch her as he went into the bathroom.

Dawn banged her head against the wall. She’d never been unfaithful to Reggie. The only time she’d ever let another man touch her was when they were on a relationship break. The breaks had happened enough over the course of their history, but she’d never shared anything more than a few kisses with anyone else. Somehow, this felt like much more than kissing. It was more intimate than most of the sex she’d shared with Reggie of late.

She pressed her hands to her face. She had to pull herself together. Her cousin needed her tonight. She knew Kayla intended to tell her mother that she was dating Josh. Aunt Catherine would not be pleased because Josh was an artist. She would be happy with nothing less than a lawyer. He was also a notorious playboy. Dawn took a couple of deep breaths before returning to the den.

Chapter 1

 

“Selfish? You’re calling me selfish? I didn’t want to go to that damn party and I told you so.”

Dawn crossed her arms over her chest and glared at her fiancé. “You could have answered my calls. Or my text messages. You let me look like a fool in front of my cousin—”

“Here we go again.” He rolled his eyes and picked up his game controller. “I’m so sick of hearing about that stuck up cousin of yours. I was playing poker with Ray and the boys.”

Dawn watched him for a few more minutes. Finally, she sighed. She wasn’t going to get any more out of him. Once he started gaming, the conversation was over. She watched him passionately pressing the buttons with his long brown fingers. His arms were long, the muscles ropey. Reggie was very handsome. She’d always been proud of him. He had green eyes the color of Gary Dourdan’s, caramel skin only a shade or so lighter than her own. He was tall and lean. He usually kept his hair closely cropped, but it had been a while since he’d had a haircut. Currently, his head was covered in a mass of glossy ebony curls. In short, he was gorgeous. She liked the envious looks she received when she was on his arm.

She pressed her lips together.  Reggie hadn’t always been faithful. They’d had some rough patches, but they’d come through them together.

And tonight, she’d betrayed his trust. She didn’t have it in her to stand here and argue with Reggie about the party. Part of her wanted to blame him for what happened with Evan. If he’d been there, the episode with Evan never would have taken place. The other part of her felt so guilty. She knew how much it had hurt her each time she’d discovered one of his infidelities. Getting even wasn’t her way.

She bit her lip and went upstairs to their bedroom. She knew Reggie would drag himself to bed sometime long after she’d gone to sleep. She changed into comfy pajamas and slipped between the sheets.

She regretted her actions with Evan. She knew she couldn’t tell Reggie. He’d go postal and he would never forgive her. It would be a hypocritical attitude after all the times she had forgiven him, but she knew Reggie. Holding onto grudges was hobby with him.

She buried her face in her pillow. Despite how wrong it was, she couldn’t help wondering what it would have been like to have Evan inside of her.  In that hallway tonight, she’d wanted it almost more than her next breath. She was still shocked by her body’s reaction to Evan. She couldn’t have stopped what happened if she’d wanted to. At the time, she’d been in no frame of mind to try to stop him. It was all so unexpected.

Prior to tonight, she’d seen Evan on a few occasions. It was usually at a joint holiday gathering of Josh and Kayla’s. He was handsome, but a person tended not to notice him when Josh was around. Josh was taller, charming, and so handsome he could have been a model. In comparison, Evan was quieter and he didn’t seem to mind being in the shadow of his younger brother. It was no wonder she’d never given him much thought before he pissed her off with his comments about Reggie.

Dawn trailed her fingertips over her lips, recalling Evan’s kisses. She shivered. God help her if he tried that again.

 

* * * *

 

The ringing phone woke her. Dawn reached out a hand to pluck the receiver off the hook. “Hello?”

“Dawn, you’re invited to breakfast with me and Mom.”

“Kayla, I’m still in bed.”

“Ha. That’s what you get for disturbing me when I was in bed with Josh.”

Dawn smiled. “Okay. Give me an hour. Bye.” She hung up and rolled over. No Reggie. He’d fallen asleep on the couch playing games again. Or stayed up all night. Right after he’d purchased the Wii, he’d used two vacation days from work so that he could stay up all night playing. Yet when she’d wanted to go on her family’s reunion cruise, he hadn’t wanted to waste the days and she’d gone alone.

Showered and dressed, she found Reggie asleep on the couch snuggled up with his precious Wii controller. Dawn shook her head and exited the townhouse. She waited on the steps for Kayla and her mother to pull up. She fluffed her curls. She’d taken out the magenta and purple hair clips she’d worn for the party last night. She could tell from her aunt’s expression that she had not approved.

She tried to be her usual perky self as she slid into the back of Kayla’s car, but she could tell from the way Kayla kept glancing at her in the rearview mirror that she wasn’t pulling it off.

Once they were in the restaurant and each of them had their order, Kayla finally broached the subject. “Dawn, is everything all right with you and Reggie? Did he explain his absence last night?” 

Dawn pursed her lips. “He said he’d never agreed to come. That he didn’t want to waste his time with my snooty friends. He was playing poker with his cousins the entire time. We still had a huge fight.” She ended with the lie. It was the expected answer. If she’d told the truth that she’d simply let Reggie get away with his no-show without there being a major fight, Kayla would want to know why. And she wasn’t ready to share the details of what happened with Evan yet, if ever. 

“I’m sorry, Dawn.”

She shrugged. “Let’s talk about something not so depressing.”

Kayla bit her lip. “Josh and I are engaged.”

Dawn let out a squeal so loud people around them jumped and heads all over the restaurant swiveled their way. Dawn paid them no heed. She attacked Kayla with exuberant hugs. “So we’re both getting married! Have you set a date? Have you been shopping? Where’s your ring? Oh! We can be each other’s maid of honor.” She wrinkled her nose. “I suppose Josh will choose Evan as his best man.” She shook her head. She would not think of him. She’d see him at the rehearsal maybe and the wedding. That was all. Everything would be fine. No one would ever have to know. Besides, it was merely a
kiss
. “Well, there’s no help for that. We have
got
to go shopping.”

BOOK: Winning Dawn
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