The Danger With Love
Publication date: April 25th 2017
Genres: Adult, Romance
A beautiful wedding. An exquisite dress. A night to remember. If only she were the bride. Sarafina just wants her fairytale ending like all her friends, but she seems doomed to always be the bridesmaid. Until she runs into him—the groomsman walking her down the aisle. She might be attracted to him, but he screams nothing but trouble.
Special Agent Dax Delcroy never wanted this assignment. Being old college roommates with the groom meant the case was his anyway. Get in and get out. Get the information to take down the bride’s father, the most ruthless mobster in the city. It should all be so easy. Except nothing is easy the minute he meets her.
Sitting next to this woman and listening to her aggravating laugh was enough to want to put a bullet through his head. The minute Lora Chilani slid up to him, wrapping her arms around him, he knew he had a great opening into the affairs of the Chilani family. A quick glance at Sarafina had him hesitating, but only for a moment.He was here to do a job, not fall in love. Sarafina did not register on his scale of priorities, even if he wanted to send her to the top.
Snuggling Lora closer to his body as he laughed at her flirting that did nothing for him, he reinforced the decision to do his job without further distractions.
Because that’s what Sarafina was. A simple distraction. He couldn’t afford even a small one. The tiniest distraction could get him killed. That was the last thing he wanted to do today. He wasn’t ready to die.
But that damn distraction was sitting right next to him, bundled so close to his body, it was difficult not to turn and mold her more perfectly to his frame. And she smelled delicious. A sweet scent of vanilla and lavender. Perhaps her shampoo. Or maybe some sort of hairspray as her hair look coiled to perfection. Or his favorite, a lovely fragrance from a perfume bottle. He always loved a woman wearing a light, airy perfume that enticed him to come closer.
That’s exactly what her scent was doing to him. He wanted to get so close it would be indecent in front of everyone.
“So, what do you do, Dax? With all the crazy details with the wedding, Ryan barely had a chance to tell us more about you,” Lora crooned.
“Business. I work on Wall Street. The details are rather boring and tedious. I’d rather hear more about you.” After speaking that lie, he touched the tip of her nose delicately as if he really wanted to know more about her.
Sarafina shivered next to him. Damn, was she still cold? It would be okay to give her his coat now, except he had this other horrid woman hanging off him. She was either cold, like she claimed before, or her body struggled to keep up with the craziness of the day. Did she really eat like she said she did?
Focus. She is not your concern.
“Oh, jeepers, I’m so sorry,” she mumbled, trailing her eyes up a broad chest to a face she didn’t recognize. And she would’ve recognized him if she had seen him before. His bright green eyes twinkled brightly, a slight amusement lingering. This wasn’t the time to be running into handsome men. She needed all her wits about her. Running into handsome men was supposed to come after the wedding, not before.
“My fault. I wasn’t paying attention.” He offered a charming smile, lighting his eyes up even more as he let his hands drop from her shoulders. “I’m Dax. I’m sorry for almost knocking you down.”
He reached out his hand. She couldn’t possibly shake his hand. The brief moment when she smacked her face into his chest, his hands grabbing her to steady her, sent a small tingling flame of desire down the length of her body. So brief, her imagination probably had simply run away from her. A simple touch couldn’t possibly send a burst of pleasure that quickly. What would it feel like to hold his hand?
His brow rose at her lack of response. Oh geez, she was acting like an idiot. She shoved her hand into his. “I’m Fina…or Sarafina. Most people call me Fina. You can call me that. Or you can call me Sarafina. Heck, some people even call me Sara.” She cleared her throat. She did not just ramble like that. Since when did she ramble like a moron? How long would he continue to hold her hand? Those flames of desire were starting to burn her from the inside out. Her imagination was intact. The tingles were real. And very, very wonderful.
He caressed her hand with the tip of his thumb before letting her go. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Sarafina. You have a beautiful name. Are you a bridesmaid?” He glanced at her dress, a small laugh escaping. “Of course you are. What position are you walking down?”
A trembling hand slid down her dress. “Um…I’m third. Why?”
Her insides continued to melt when another laugh left his mouth. “Me, too. It’ll be my pleasure to escort you down the aisle.”
Pleasure. Yeah, she was feeling plenty of that. Keep the smile. Don’t look terrified at that prospect. How would she manage down the aisle with his warm hand on her the entire time? “Great. You weren’t at the rehearsal dinner, were you?”
“No, I had some business I needed to wrap up. Are you a friend or family of the bride?”
“A friend. You?”
“I went to college with Ryan.”
They stared at each other. She wanted to say it unnerved her, but she was almost getting used to the way his eyes held hers. Mesmerized. Enchanted.
Pathetic, Sarafina. Oh darnation. This was too much. His gorgeous smile indicated he wanted to say more. But they had nothing else to say. Unless to brainstorm where the nearest closet could be found.
Nope. Bad idea. Not happening.
She needed some air. Especially if his hands would be touching her again so soon.
“I need a last minute touch up…and I should go see if Lily needs my help. I’ll see you soon,” she said a bit awkwardly.“I can’t wait."
Swiping another glass of champagne from the passing tray, Dax took a deep swig before reminding himself he needed to tone down the drinking. He was supposed to be working, not getting shit-faced drunk.
The thought was appealing, though, especially every time he saw Sarafina’s beautiful face, and he saw it a lot, considering he purposely made a point to seek her out. Unobtrusively, of course. It wouldn’t do well for her to know he was looking at her, or anyone else. Particularly Martin Chilani, or even Travis Chilani.
He didn’t have a full dossier on Travis. But there wasn’t much to report since, as far as they could tell, he wasn’t involved hands-on in the organization. His criminal activity didn’t concern Dax at the moment. No. He wanted to know what his relationship to Sarafina was.
Dancing, laughing, even some kissing had been going on between the two, making him want to break something every time his lips connected with her. Sure, it wasn’t on the actual mouth. A peck on the cheek here, another peck on the cheek there. But his lips anywhere on her for any reason made Dax want to get his gun and shoot him.
He shouldn’t be having this reaction, especially over a woman he just met. Every time his eyes glossed over to her, the protective feelings swarmed inside, begging to be released.
The fact was, Travis Chilani couldn’t be trusted. His last name assured that he couldn’t be trusted and he wanted him nowhere near Sarafina just for that reason.
It wasn’t that easy. He couldn’t waltz up to her and tell her why she should maintain her distance from any member of the Chilani family, Lily included. She would certainly look at him like horns were sticking out of his hair and perhaps a little crazy in the head. Questions would be asked, suspicions would rise, and his cover would be blown.
The best thing he could do was wipe her from his memory. Forget she ever existed. She was merely another female that would complain in his ear that he didn’t talk enough, or that he worked too much, or he didn’t show her enough affection. Just another woman.
His eyes zoomed in on her again as she continued making her rounds around the ballroom, talking, laughing, and enjoying herself with everyone. Most from the Chilani family or connections to the family.
Damn his concern for her. Not only protective-like either. How much knowledge did she have of the family? What if she knew all about their operations? Was she dating Travis, fully aware of what happened behind closed doors? Could he extract all of his intel he needed from her?
Her face lit up with delight as she laughed at what her companion said, a halo of innocence surrounding her.
How could he use her to complete his job? He didn’t want to believe she could be involved or have any knowledge about these people. Pretending ignorance would be best. He wasn’t sure he would have the gumption to slap a pair of handcuffs on her.
Was she really contemplating this? What happened to keeping her distance? He was the wrong man for her. Completely wrong. Until he nibbled on her ear and pressed his warm lips to her skin, concluding he was perfect for her. She couldn’t stop the inferno roaring inside her body, or function to think normally.
“Sarafina, I feel like I lost you. What are you thinking?”
She tore her eyes away from his chest to look him straight in the eyes. “I was thinking how wonderful your lips would feel on other parts of my body.”
Did she just say that? She didn’t say things like that.
“God, you’re torturing me.” He pulled her closer, letting her feel how strongly he wanted her. “Trust me. You’d hate me the next day.”
“Not if we’re clear what this is.”
“And what is this? What do you think this is between us?”
“A strong sexual attraction, probably from the start. What’s so wrong with giving into that attraction?”
His feet moved with quick precision, yet gracefully, as he steered them to some privacy. Off the dance floor, away from the crowd, he grabbed her cheeks gently into his hands. “Listen to me. I can’t give you more than a night. That’s all this would be. One night between us. You’re not that kind of woman. I won’t treat you like that kind of woman.”
“Even if it’s what I want? I’m always picking out the wrong man, thinking they are sweet, kind, generous, when they turn out to be nothing close to that. I keep telling myself you are wrong for me and to keep my distance. Well, maybe that’s what’s been wrong all along. I’m pushing the wrong men away. I’ll take one night with you. I want to be that kind of woman tonight.”
“Listen to your instincts. I am wrong for you. I won’t turn you into that. Don’t ask me to.”
Leaning into him, she ran her hands down his chest. “Because if I ask, you’ll give me what I want.”
He trembled under her touch, his eyes glistening into maddening desire. “You make it impossible to resist you. Please, Sarafina, I don’t want you to hate me. You will. Trust me.”
“I’m a big girl, Dax. I can take care of myself. I can take a hint. I’m sorry.”
Before she embarrassed herself further by flinging herself into the arms of a man who didn’t want her as much as his body said he did, she turned around. Getting one foot in front of her, a strong hand twirled her back around. She slammed into his chest as his mouth came crashing down.
She barely opened her mouth to let him explore when he pulled away, breathing heavily. “Damn it. I don’t want to want you. But I can’t help myself. Please, whatever happens in the future, know that what’s about to happen tonight is because I care for you. I’m risking it all to have this one night. Just one. There can never be more.”
Still feeling the taste of him on her lips, she almost had a hard time focusing on his words. “You’re confusing me. Are you married? Do you have a girlfriend or something? What are you risking?”
“There’s no one in my life. I swear. You either trust me enough to take what I’m offering, or I’ll let you walk away for good this time.”
Author Bio:Q & A for The Danger With Love:
I love anything that has to do with romance. As long as there's a happy ending, I'm a happy camper. I love baseball (Go Twins!) and creating awesome crafts. I graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice, working in that field for several years before I became a stay-at-home mom. When I'm not hanging out with my wonderful family, I'm writing a sweet contemporary romance or a romantic suspense that keeps you guessing until the end. I have a few more amazing stories in the works. If you would like to connect with me or see important news, head to my website at http://www.amandasiegrist.com. Or you can also check out my Facebook Page or follow me on Twitter (@amanda_siegrist). Thanks for reading!
Where did the inspiration come from for The Danger With Love?
I’ve always been a fan of Harlequin since I was younger. When I first started to contemplate becoming an author, I stumbled upon Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest in 2014. I didn’t make it into the Top 50, but it taught me one very important thing that I should’ve known. Lol Your first chapter should hook the reader. My first chapter didn’t do that. At. All. In 2015, I did much better and actually made the Top 55. Best feeling ever! So, for 2016’s contest, I started planning way in advance for a great story. And what happened…they stopped the contest! *chuckles* Well, I’m still not sure what imprint line I would’ve put The Danger With Love in the contest, so I guess it’s okay.
What advice would you give to an aspiring author (marketing/promo, writing, etc)?
Keep at it! As long as you enjoy what you’re doing, then keep at it. It’s not easy sometimes. Marketing takes a lot of hard work, but in the end, it’s worth it all. I’ve met new readers and connected with other amazing authors. And book bloggers—they are the best! I enjoy meeting new people and talking about something I love. Reading and writing! I think it’s okay to think outside the box and try new things. You’re going to hear a lot out there about what you should do (HAVE to do). Personally, I think you should do what YOU want to do. Not what others say. Take advice, listen, think about it, and make a decision that best suits your needs. Follow your gut! I believe that can be beneficial in all aspects of your career—writing, marketing, promoting. If you have that feeling you should do it, then go for it. Learning from your mistakes can be fun. Lol. Trust me, we all make mistakes. *raises hand* I came into this wonderful world of self-publishing not knowing anything. Not one thing. I’m sure there are still tons I don’t know. But I’m having fun, learning, and I enjoy going to ‘work’ every day! People might not consider what I have as success (I’m no bestseller…yet *wink*), but I’m successful. I enjoy what I do, I’m having fun while I’m doing it, and I’m meeting other awesome readers, bloggers, and authors. Success is defined in your own way.
How do you make sure your characters are unique from book to book (their own voices, distinct personalities)?
This is always hard to do. I hope I’m doing it. Lol. My writing technique is probably just as unique as the next author. I don’t plot. At all. I’m a pantser, all the way. An idea comes to me and I sit down and just start writing. I’m not lying when I say I have a thought in my head how a scene will go and suddenly I’m writing something completely opposite of what I thought. That’s my character taking control, telling me how it’s gonna be. They just know. Yes. The voices talk to me. *giggles* I always try to give each of them their own little quirk. Like in The Danger With Love, Sarafina never swears. Ever. She loves to say jeepers and darnation instead of just saying damn it! No characters in my other books say that. It’s just little things like that that make each character stand out and unique in their own way.
Where do your story ideas come from?
Anywhere and everywhere. Honestly, I’m not too sure. Lol. I never plot, so sometimes I don’t know how a story is going to go until it’s flying out as I’m typing like a mad woman. The Danger With Love was created when I participated in a weekend writing challenge with Harlequin. They asked for a short scene where a bridesmaid meets the groomsman, who will be walking her down the aisle, for the first time. And there Sarafina and Dax was born! Based on that short scene, I had a generalized idea of what was going to happen and decided to make it into a full story. Usually about half way through I do get a small idea how I want it to end. Then sometimes, I don’t know until I’m almost finished. What can I say? I really have no rhyme or reason with my ideas. They just come and go.
How do you choose the names of your characters?
Google is my best friend. Lol. No joke! I try not to use the same name from a previous book, unless it’s a minor, minor character, then I don’t mind so much. I also don’t generally like to use names of people I know. It might happen on occasion, but never for a main character. I want my character to have their own uniqueness and if I used the name of someone I know it wouldn’t feel unique to me. Sarafina and Dax just popped in my head. There was no googling with them. Actually, Dax’s full name is Daxton. I just love that name so much! Don’t ask me why. Lol I have no idea why.
Writer’s block, does it ever plague you?
I have to say no. I haven’t really had this happen to me. Sometimes the middle goes a little slow, the scenes taking me longer than I like, but I’ve never been stumped where I couldn’t keep writing. It’s not necessarily writer’s block, but I’ve had times where I don’t feel like writing. That’s usually when I’ve taken a break (due to vacation or life getting in the way) and can’t seem to find the energy to pull the computer out. I try really hard not to let that happen. Even if I sit down and write 100 words, I’ve accomplished something. I love to say, one word written is better than none. Always keep that in mind! You can do it!
Any last thoughts?
I’d like to thank you for having me on your blog! It’s always a pleasure to share my thoughts and meet new people. Writing is a passion of mine. It’s so much fun to sit down, create a story, and share it with others. Expect many more stories from me! Have a wonderful day☺
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