Worth The Risk

2013 Winner for Best Novella in the Book Buyers Best Awards

Take a Risk Series
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 978-1-62266-921-9

Their love was ancient history…until their paths crossed again.

Samantha Bennett put Dean Malloy out of her mind five years ago, when he broke her heart after a summer fling. But now he’s back in her life, and ready to steal a heritage protection contract that could make or break her career–if he doesn’t steal her heart first.

Samantha’s vowed to hate him, but it’s more than anger heating the competition between them. With sparks flying across the conference table and sizzling in every touch, Dean proposes a weekend liaison. Anything to have Sam again; anything to get her out of his system.

But the unresolved feelings between them complicate both their personal and professional lives, and one wild weekend could turn into a disaster that would destroy the one job that means more to Samantha than anything. For a shot at love…is it worth the risk?

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Excerpt Red

“Hey everyone, this is Samantha.”

The small bar crowd smiled and greeted her with hellos and waves. There was only one vacant seat left, so Dean sat and pulled Sam down onto his lap.

This was so not the position she should be in. But all eyes had swung to them, and she wouldn’t falter in front of strangers. Not completely sure what to do to keep her balance, she put her arm around Dean’s neck.

Being so close to him, touching him, sent a rush of warmth through her.

Crap, she was in trouble.

Dean wrapped one arm around her waist while the other fell across her thighs. They looked at each other, their faces only inches apart. If Samantha didn’t know any better, she’d say the grin he wore meant he was pretty happy with their position.

“Two minutes, fifteen seconds,” someone shouted, drawing Samantha’s attention away from Dean.

The group shifted their eyes to the couple who had just finished kissing. They were each guzzling a glass of water while cheers and jeers passed among the witnesses. When they finished drinking, sly smiles spread across their faces.

“Not the best time, not the worst.” Joe’s booming voice acknowledged the friends as he stood and looked around. “Who’s game to try next?”

Samantha leaned her head to Dean’s ear and whispered, “Try what?”

“How about Dean and Samantha?” someone shouted, followed quickly by more votes for the pair.

“What do you say, Dean?” Joe looked at them with raised eyebrows. “Up for a little hot-sauce challenge?”

“I’m game if she is.” Dean regarded Samantha’s quizzical expression then added, “Hot sauce is a kissing game where we each get hot sauce on our tongues, then make out to see how long we can last.”

Samantha gulped and looked at his lips. They were sinfully appealing, but she had no intention of connecting with them again. “No, thanks.”

“Aww, come on!” someone from the crowd shouted.

“You chicken?” Dean asked.

“What? No. I just see no reason to kiss you if I don’t have to.”

“I’ll do it!” a female voice shouted.

Samantha tried to stand, but Dean held tightly to her waist. “I’m not doing this with anyone but you.”

She relaxed against him. He always knew exactly what to say. This time, though, so did she. “Sorry, Dean. I’ve got to go.”

He cupped her cheek and looked deep into her eyes. “One kiss, Sam. I dare you.”

Damn him. If she didn’t agree, he’d think he won something here, and she couldn’t let that happen. She couldn’t let him beat her over a silly kiss. Especially if he thought his kiss would distract her from the reason she was in town.

“Fine. I’m game.”

Whistles and sighs echoed around their corner of the bar while Joe grabbed two bottles of hot sauce off the table. “The rules are—” —he looked at Sam as he spoke —“—time starts when I say go. Your lips must stay in contact. Tongue is optional. As soon as you part, time stops. Ready?”

With eyes stuck on each other, they nodded. Joe stood over them with a bottle of sauce in each hand and they simultaneously tilted their heads back to receive several drops on their tongues.