Designed by Desire

Designed_by_DesireDesigned by Desire
October, 2013

Passion’s in vogue

A front-row seat at Paris Fashion Week is the perfect pick-me-up for Brianna Hamilton, eldest daughter of New York’s most successful clothing dynasty. The once-burned designer has had it with men who care only about the bottom line. Until she meets a guy who’s impossible to resist. Here, in the world’s most romantic city, Brianna’s giving in to desire with a sensual stranger she’ll never see again.

As CEO of an international hotel chain, Collin Childs has everything…except the one thing money can’t buy. So when fate reunites him with the woman who gave him the most unforgettable week of his life, he vows to overcome every obstacle standing in their way. From Paris to New York to a tropical St. Thomas paradise—in the face of danger and sabotage—Collin is slowly winning Brianna over. But can he convince her to take a chance on a love of their own passionate design?

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A clean, refreshing scent washed over Brianna Hamilton. It was aftershave, definitely Old Spice, and the fragrance reminded her of home, of her father, of all the cold, winter days they’d spent inside playing chess and watching Jeopardy. Brianna opened her eyes, expecting to see a wrinkled, gray-haired man sitting in the stool beside her, but when she saw him—the sexy, heartthrob who’d caused a stir when he’d entered the Carrousel du Louvre—she gasped.

“I’m sorry, Ms.,” he said, holding up his hands in a gesture of peace, his expression one of genuine concern. “I didn’t mean to scare you.”

His smile was apologetic, but still, Brianna eyed him warily. She wasn’t used to men approaching her at the hotel bar, or anywhere for that matter. Guys rarely asked her out, and that suited her just fine because she wasn’t interested in having a one-night stand, or finding that one special someone either. Dating didn’t appeal to her, and neither did racking up more sex partners than the Material Girl. She’d would much rather work, or spend time with her family than sweat out her perm with a guy who was more interested in getting off than pleasing her. Brianna knew, in theory, that there were still a few good men out there, but she didn’t have the energy or patience that dating required. And why bother when love didn’t last anyways?

“Do you mind me sitting here?”

“Yes, I mean, n-n-no,” she stammered, tripping over her own tongue. “It’s a free world. You can sit where ever you want.” Brianna recognized she was rambling, but couldn’t get her lips to stop moving or her hands to quit shaking.

“I won’t bother you. I promise.” He gestured with his head to the flat-screen TV. “I just want to watch the World Cup Qualification match between Italy and Germany.”

Brianna flashed him a smile. He was definitely American, likely from the West Coast, and radiated a calm, laid-back vibe. His voice was deep, husk, a sound she’d love to hear more of. So, why not strike up a conversation? She had nothing better to do, and despite all the drama at the fashion show, she was feeling surprisingly upbeat. But sitting at a bar with a gorgeous guy could do that to a girl, Brianna thought, shifting nervously on her raised, swivel stool.

“I bet on the boys in blue, and I’m anxious to see how they’re doing.”

“I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the game’s over. Germany won by two.”

His eyes widened. “Are you serious?”

“As a heart attack.”

“How the hell did that happen?” The stranger raked a hand over his brown, baby-fine hair. “The last time I checked the score, Italy was up by two.”

“In the second half, the Germans were the faster, more aggressive team,” Brianna explained. “They’re a talented, young squad that plays with a lot of heart, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they won it all in Brazil next year.”

He raised an eyebrow. “How do you know so much about European football?”

“I lived in Milan for a year, and football was the only thing on TV!” Brianna laughed. “Italians live, breath and eat football, and it wasn’t long before I fell in love with the sport too. I don’t watch as many games as I use to, but I still follow my favorite teams.”

“Interesting.” Studying her quietly, he calmly stroked the length of his jaw. “Who do you like in the France-Spain game? It’s coming up next, and I was just about to place my bet.”

“That’s a no-brainer. France is going to win.”

“How can you be so sure? They haven’t been playing good as of late.”

“That’s why I’m convinced they’ll win,” she told him. “The French national team performs best when it matters most, and they know it they lose to Spain they’ll have to permanently relocate because their fans will never, ever forgive them!”

The stranger chuckled and offered his right hand. “I’m Collin.”

No, you’re fine-as-hell, Brianna thought silently. He was, without a doubt, the best looking man she’d ever seen in the flesh, and being in such close proximity of him was wreaking havoc on her body. They were sitting side-by-side, but Brianna’s skin was so damp with sweat, he might as well been doing her from behind. The thought only made her symptoms worse. Her nipples hardened under her sheath dress, and she couldn’t stop picturing Collin naked, in her bed. And, if he looked even half as good as he did in her fantasy that could spell serious trouble.

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