by: Wendy S. Marcus
Series: Dare to Love (Kindle World)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 26, 2016
Publisher: Kindle Worlds
One night on the Island of Eden changes two lives forever.
Ren Monighan is living the dream, running his very successful business from a condo overlooking beautiful Miami Beach – not that he’s around much to enjoy the view. He spends so much time traveling between professional and college football teams, filming practices and creating virtual reality play simulations, he has none left over to look for love. But passing a few hours naked with a pretty bartender named, Anya, fits into his schedule just fine.
Anya Solokov has been working hard to make a better life for herself in New York. She’s moved past her days of scrounging for food and doing things she isn’t proud of to survive. An MBA from NYU will guarantee her independence and ensure she never has to scrimp and save or go hungry again. When an unplanned pregnancy puts Anya’s lifelong goal in jeopardy, Ren’s ready to step up. But headstrong Anya won’t accept his help unless he comes up with a plan that works for both of them.
“I dare you.”
“Dude, your brother would have been all over that by now.”
Ren Monighan glanced between his old college teammates, Vic and Danny. Both men had put on a good thirty pounds in the five years since their glory days on the starting lineup of MSU division one football. Unlike Ren, who, thanks to regular exercise and a mostly healthy diet, looked and weighed pretty much the same as he had back then. “Despite being identical twins, I am not my brother,” he reminded them. No. His brother Ryan was the outgoing one, friends with everyone, the life of the party. An all-star running back for the NFL’s Miami Thunder, women loved him. Hell, men loved him, too.
If Ryan were with them, Ren would be having a hell of a lot more fun.
He turned to the bar, or more precisely, to the tall, lush, big-chested, beauty behind the bar. A crisp white blouse clung to her curves, the collar opened to reveal a generous amount of cleavage. Tight black pants outlined her full, round ass and long, shapely legs. She wore her straight, black hair pulled up in a high ponytail that swished back and forth across her upper back when she walked. Large silver hoops accented her earlobes, and silver rings surrounded each of her fingers, even her thumbs. With dark, mysterious eyes, smooth, tanned skin, perfectly curved brows, rounded cheeks, full lips…she was the perfect female package.
Which explained why both of his buddies had made a play for her, and why both were now dealing with the sting of her rejection. As if either of them stood a chance with a woman like that. Maybe back in their ‘Big Man on Campus’ days.
But those days were over.
Ren had moved on.
Danny and Vic hadn’t.
“Man,” Danny said, glancing at the bar with longing. “If Ryan were here, he’d have bagged her for sure.”
Probably, but professional football players whose teams were two wins away from playing in the Super Bowl didn’t get time off in January. So Ryan had declined his invite, leaving Ren to deal with Vic and Danny on his own.
Vic leaned forward, rested his elbows on the table, and looked directly at Ren. “There’s one of us at this table who still has a shot.”
“Oh, no,” Ren said, shaking his head. “I’m fine with that cute little bridesmaid who came on to me earlier.” Earlier, when they’d attended their friend Jackson’s wedding, the reason he, Vic and Danny were on the Island of Eden, and why they were sitting in a very warm, tropical-themed bar at the exclusive Eden Elite Resort, dressed in tuxedos. “Got her room key right here.” He patted his breast pocket. “Just waiting for her to head up.”
As if she could tell he was talking about her, she looked over at him from where she sat three tables away with a bunch of women some dressed as bridesmaids others as guests. He held up his mug in a toast, gave her a wink and flashed one of his best smiles. Ready when you are, Susan. Or was it Sara? Serena? Sienna? Okay, so she wasn’t all that memorable. But she was cute and nice and most important of all, well, easy, for lack of a better word.
Over the past three years, he’d been working too hard and dealing with too much stress. He had no energy left to be charming, flirty and creative. An easy, sure thing, suited Ren just fine.
“So,” Vic said. “Are you going to take the dare or not?”
“Not,” Ren said. “We’re out of college. If you think you can-”
“Whenever we’re together, same rules apply,” Danny said, unhelpfully. “You take the dare or pay a forfeit.”
That right there was the reason he’d purposely lost contact with his old ‘friends.’ He’d grown up. Twenty-six years old was too old for stupid dares, but whatever. Just to shut Vic up he said, “Fine.” His business was growing faster than he could keep up with it. Ren had plenty of money. He’d pay the forfeit. “How much?”
Vic shook his head. “Not money.” He hesitated. “I want the Harley I saw you riding in pictures on Instagram.”
“No way.” That bike was part of a matched set Ryan had bought the day after he’d been drafted by the Miami Thunder. “You’re not getting the Harley.” It meant too much.
“Then take the dare,” Vic said.
“No.” Ren sat back, unwilling to give in.
Vic got that look in his eyes, the one that always led to no good. “How about I sweeten the dare?”
Interesting. Ren crossed his arms over his chest. “I’m listening.”
“I dare you to make a play for the beauty behind the bar. She shoots you down, I get the Harley.”
“Not the Harley.”
“Just hear me out,” Vic said. “She shoots you down, I get the Harley,” he repeated. “You get her to spend the night with you, the whole night, and I’ll get you a meeting with my Uncle Pat so you can pitch him your virtual reality thinga-majiggy.”
Thinga-majiggy? Did people actually still say that? Apparently so. “You mean my virtual reality play simulations?” The product he’d created to help football players learn in a virtual environment, to reinforce actual practice repetitions from each team’s playbook. His baby, the reason he’d been working so hard, trying to corner the market before two other companies, with variations on Ren’s idea, were up and running and competing for his prospective clients.
Maybe he’d never earn a salary to match his professional football player brother, but if he put in the long hours of hard work necessary, he could still be a success.
“Yeah, that,” Vic said.
“Who exactly is your Uncle Pat?” Ren asked. “And why would I want a meeting with him?”
Vic smiled. “My Uncle Pat is the head coach of the North Carolina Hawks.”
No way. “The North Carolina Hawks?” A phenomenal college football team that’d made it to the NCAA Division One finals three out of the last five years. Holy crap! “You’re related to Coach Michaels?” Getting his team to try out Ren’s virtual reality simulations would be a huge coop. “How did I not know this?”
“He’s my mother’s brother,” Vic said nonchalantly. “Didn’t make a big deal about it because I didn’t want people thinking he had anything to do with me making the MSU football team.” Vic glared at Ren. “Because he didn’t.”
Yeah, right. “Why can’t you simply get me the meeting because you’re a nice guy?” Ren asked, already knowing the answer, which Vic confirmed by saying, “I’m not a nice guy, and I want that Harley.”
Ren could not lose the Harley. He loved that bike, loved taking it out and hitting the open road with his twin, just the two of them, spending time together, away from Ryan’s adoring fans.
But he could not pass up the opportunity to pitch his product to Coach Michaels, either.
Ren drank his beer, watching the lovely bartender he’d be spending the night with, thinking…planning. Sure, he found her attractive, what man wouldn’t? But having sex with any woman because of a dare felt all kinds of wrong. Although, technically, all he’d be agreeing to do was spend the whole night with her. They could play cards or watch a movie, for all he cared. Hell, he’d do whatever she wanted. All he had to do was turn on the charm and feel her out.
If that didn’t work, he’d explain everything and get her to play along. Somehow.
Finishing off the rest of his beer, Ren set the mug on the table with a little more force than necessary. Both Vic and Danny took notice. “Okay.” He held out his hand to Vic. “I’ll do it.”
With the smile of a man who thought he was about to get a classic Harley-Davidson for free, Vic shook it.
Danny rubbed his hands together as if eager to watch the show.
“Well alrighty then.” Ren stood. “Watch and learn boys.” He borrowed something Ryan would have said.
Vic’s laugh fueled Ren on as he straightened his spine, using his six-foot, four-inch frame to full advantage. His eyes on the prize, he headed toward the bar.
Purchase A Dare with Consequences from:
April 2016 Dare to Love Kindle World Books:
(Clicking on the book covers will take you to Amazon for purchase.)
Click here for my review of A Dare with Consequences.
Wendy S. Marcus is an award-winning author of contemporary romance. A nurse by trade, Wendy holds a Master of Science in Health Care Administration, a degree that does her absolutely no good as she now spends her days, nights, and weekends mucking around in her characters’ lives creating conflict, emotion, and of course, a happily ever after. Wendy lives in the beautiful Hudson Valley region of New York. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family, which includes her dog Buddy, and blogging/e-mailing/tweeting/facebooking with her online friends.
Places to find Wendy S. Marcus: