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God this is the last place I needed to be. I glanced around the large Hilton Hotel suite admiring the elegance of its interior. Sitting in a luxurious leather Barcelona chair, I pulled my leg up crossing it over my thigh and settled into the comfort of the soft material. Bringing my focus back to Julian, my limb bounced as I waited for him to answer my question.

His dark gray eyes stilled as he followed the spring of my leg, and I hoped I was making him as uncomfortable as he made me. I had many talks with myself on the drive over, once I found out lunch would be in his suite, my belly tossed. Suddenly, I was as warm as an oven. But, I managed not to stare at his smooth-shaven face no matter how bad his enticing mouth beckoned me to.

Straightening a bit in my seat, I reverted to my question. “I’ll take that as a no.”

Finally, his gaze left my legs and came back to my face; but not without riding the swell of my thighs, breasts, and lips first. I made it a point not to squirm at the ripple of chills crawling up my skin.

“No, it’s not a coincidence that I’m in Houston. Mr. Walls has been on my radar for a few years now, wanting to get first dibs on a spread.”

Mr. Walls being my boss, Fredrick Walls the third. “So, what made you finally give in?”

His fingers coiled together and sat in a fist on top of the table as he leaned in. “Let’s just say, I’ve been given a little motivation to help Mr. Walls out.”

I wanted to question him further but didn’t want to push the bounds of the professional space we were working in. He offered no more explanation, so I didn’t press him about his sudden appearance in my city.

“Is there a problem, Ms. Stevens?”

“Not at all,” I adjusted myself in the seat. “It’s just the last time I saw you was at Jaden and Claudia’s engagement dinner in Chicago. It seems,” I hesitated wondering if I should move forward with my thought.

“You’re free to speak, Ms. Stevens. Tell me, what does my appearance here in Houston seem to you?”

Exhaling lightly, I reached over to my briefcase and pulled out a note pad and ink pen.

“I’m good,” I said. “How about you tell me where the idea of shooting a spread in Dubai resonated from.”

His eyes fell to my notepad then back to my face. “Are you sure that’s what you want to know, Ms. Stevens?”

“Julian…” I said. He quirked an eyebrow. “It’s okay if I call you Julian, right?”

“I would prefer it.”

“You don’t have to call me Ms. Stevens. We’ve been on a casual name basis since I saw you sitting next to my mother in her hospital room.”

A wide grin trudged across his lips. “I wasn’t sure if it would be apropos in this particular situation. However, if you’re fine with it, so am I.”

“I’m fine with it,” I quipped. I’m fine with whatever you want, I thought. When Julian pulled his lip in with his teeth, I wondered if it was for the same reason that I did – to hold back the urge to jump his bones right here and now.

“Are you seeing someone, Desiree?”

The question caught me off guard. “I, um, no. You do mean as in am I dating someone?” I couldn’t believe I was stuttering like a buffoon. To make matters worse, my unease amused him as his lips held a shadow of a smile.

“Yes, that’s what I mean.”

“I’m dating, but nothing serious at the moment.”

So I told a small fib. I didn’t want Julian to think I had no takers. The gentle smile left, and his face became expressionless. I wondered where his mind went, then decided to play it safe and get back to business. Any more of his invasive stare and we’d use this room to do what it was meant for. I know I sound like a horny teenager, but I’d never been affected by another human being the way Julian affected me.

It felt dangerous and roguish like I could marry him now and live happily ever after. Some people might call that love at first sight, but I thought it was downright looney. I wouldn’t try and explain the temerarious emotions that assaulted me. I’d just do what I do best. Ignore them. My only concern was if I could withstand a trip to Dubai with him and not give in to those carnal inhibitions. One thing was for sure; I needed a drink.

“So, about my earlier question. What gave you the idea of shooting a spread in Dubai?”

“Dubai is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the Prime Minister. He’s invited A Few Good Men to model a catalog for their top modeling agency and when the Prime Minister calls, you answer.”

“I see.” My cell phone rang, and we both pulled out our phones to check the screen. I silenced it then placed it back in my briefcase.

“Is that one of your dates?” Julian asked abruptly.

Again, he took me by surprise with his query. “Why do you want to know?”

“The same reason I want to know why you moved to Houston and what’s keeping you here.” I raised a questionable brow. “You intrigue me, Desiree. Do you know why that is?”

I honestly had no idea. I was just about as interesting as a singing frog. The doorbell rang, saving me momentarily. Julian rose to his feet and strolled to the door. I couldn’t help myself from undressing him with my eyes, and I wondered if he did the same to me. Julian allowed what I assumed was room service to enter with silver trays adorned with food.

“Desiree, this is Lawrence, my personal chef. He’s endured long days and nights of me shuffling him around from city to city, and I wouldn’t give him up for the world.”

“Oh sir, you’re too kind. I don’t mind being shuffled at all. Seeing the world while cooking your favorite dishes, who could have a problem with that, eh?”

I smiled and shook my head in agreement. “I’m with you there. What do you have for us, Lawrence? If you don’t mind me asking.”

“Oh no, no, not at all.” Lawrence removed one of the silver tray tops and steam fled from the dish.

“Mmmm, that smells delightful.”

Lawrence smiled brightly. “It’s shrimp fettuccini and crab cake with a side of fresh Caesar salad. Would you mind if I made you a plate?”

“I would feel exiled if you didn’t. I didn’t realize how hungry I was until you mentioned it.”

Julian and Lawrence chuckled. He fixed our plates, poured glasses of wine, then saw himself out.

“I don’t know if I should be drinking in the middle of the day,” I said. I was being modest. I favored white wine, probably more than I should have.

“You’re more than welcome to have something else. Water, lemonade, sweet tea?”

“No it’s fine, I’m beginning to feel bossy.”

“It would be my pleasure to serve you, Desiree.”

A spark of heat crawled up the middle of my back and spread over my shoulders. If the hungry gaze in his eyes was an indication that Julian wanted me and not the food, I wasn’t sure how long being able to hold out would work. Then I had a thought. Why was I holding out? I hadn’t had sex in years; since that last mistake, I dated. But deep inside, I knew what it was. I didn’t want to seem easy with him. For whatever reason, I wanted to make a good impression on Julian. I was still trying to figure out why I cared.

“I’ll take sweet tea,” I said.

He made his way to the connecting kitchen giving me an extensive look at his broad back. I picked up my wine glass and took a sip anyway, but quickly put it down when the sweet alcohol raced down my throat causing more heat to stream inside me. Wrong move, I thought pushing the glass to the side. The last thing I needed was heat.

When Julian returned, he noticed the purple lip stain on the glass and smirked but did not comment.

“You know what, on second thought…” I lifted the glass and took a bigger sip then chased my lips. “Tell me, Julian, why’d you want to know if I’m dating anyone?”

He sat down getting comfortable at the table in front of me.

“Because Desiree,” he said. “I have plans for you.”

 

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Only If You Dare is available now on Amazon Kindle Unlimited!

Risky Retreat!

Hola! Welcome to this week’s Risky Retreat!  Here you can find a teaser of the romance that flows through my pages when I write.  Even though this is only a teaser, it will still feed your need to read.  Some of these stories are coming soon, some are available now, and some are simply free short stories I wanted to share with you!  Enjoy and don’t forget to check back in two weeks for the next Risky Retreat!

Safe with Me (Falling for a Rose Book One)

Quickly, Samiyah left the bed and shuffled to the open bathroom door but halted in her tracks when she noticed what looked like huge belts decorating a shelf. Curiosity getting the better of her, Samiyah strode over to the shelf to gain a closer look. The green strap was made of Ferrari leather with a gold plaque in the middle.

The words written on the plaque said, World Champion, with the flag from each country embedded on the trim. There were gold coins on the belt with a picture inside. Samiyah’s face lit up and the memories from last night came back to her. It was Jonas’ face; the supremely handsome gentleman that saved her from the creep at the bar. Her eyes traveled to the belts sitting next to each other, and she felt a small sense of pride. Samiyah didn’t even know Jonas, but these trophies were beautiful.

“I don’t fight anymore; I retired five years ago.”

Samiyah whipped around and staggered. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to pry.”

He folded his arms. “It’s not a problem.”

Samiyah surveyed Jonas; he was just as handsome now as he was in her drunken haze, even more so. His caramel skin was toned showing muscular arms and a chiseled bare chest. Samiyah reached up and touched her mouth to make sure her tongue wasn’t hanging out. When she found it wasn’t, she quickly slid her hand back down. Jonas seemed amused. Samiyah blinked several times trying to clear her thoughts. “Um, I guess I’m in your house?” The question was rhetorical.

“You are,” he confirmed. “Don’t worry, you’re safe with me.”

Samiyah didn’t doubt it even though she probably should. “I’m not in the habit of going home with strangers you know.”

“That’s good to know.”

“Did we have sex last night?”

There it was that award-winning smile she knew lingered behind those hinted grins he gave out last night.

“You don’t remember?” He teased.

Samiyah gasped, throwing her hands to her mouth. Jonas stepped closer invading her space. He pinched her chin. “I assure you, if we made love, I would never let you forget it.”

Safe With Me

 

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Romance Is In The Air!

Vicarious romance readers, I have been in the writing cave vigorously working on another swoon-worthy series! I’m super excited about these stories. First and foremost, meet Jonas Alexander Rose in Safe with Me.

Safe With Me

Celebrity ex-boxer and heavyweight champion turned business mogul, Jonas Alexander Rose never takes women too seriously. They only attach themselves to him because of his star-studded status. However, when he meets the beautiful Samiyah Manhattan mulling over a mimosa at his favorite bar and grill, Jonas is overwhelmed by the heart throbbing heated attraction, and now he is on a mission to explore this thing called love. But can Jonas break the barrier that Samiyah’s put up and is he even ready? Find out if Jonas and Samiyah are a match made in heaven or if they will miss out on their happily ever after in Safe With Me. Book one in the Falling For A Rose Series.

New Release!

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Book Title: Everything I Always Wanted

Author: Stephanie Nicole Norris

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: March 7, 2017

Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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book blurb

It was a mouthwatering kiss that changed everything…

One thing that held constant in Shelby Donovan’s life was her career. As a world renowned artist, Shelby’s paintings traveled the globe, landing in museums and homes across the nation. But what she couldn’t seem to get under control was her love life. Why? She asked herself that question time and time again. Her mother thought it was because of her best friend, Sebastian Cartwright. They’ve known each other for years. Sebastian and Shelby shared everything; embarrassing moments, secrets, dating tips, affection, and even an explosive kiss during one tipsy night on Shelby’s birthday.

But, when Shelby’s current boyfriend asks for her hand in marriage she should be excited, dancing, ready… but she isn’t. In fact, Shelby can’t stop thinking about the kiss she shared with Sebastian. It had to be a fluke, right? A simple, delicious, fiery kiss that pulled at her loins and caused her heartbeat to slam against her ribcage. Honestly, it rocked her world and thoughts of what could be played like piano keys in her head. But their friendship was too important to mix with the uncertainty of a relationship. Even worse, what if Sebastian didn’t feel the same way? It could ruin everything. Should Shelby accept the marriage proposal, or shed her fears and open up to her best friend? Find out in Everything I Always Wanted.

excerpt

Sebastian

She said yes. The restaurant erupted with applause and congratulatory praises as I sat there stunned. She said yes. Melanie grabbed my hand, her eyes bright. She was sincerely excited for them, but I hadn’t moved, blinked, or said anything. Alan moved from his seat and lifted Shelby, an overjoyed smile on both of their faces. A waiter approached with the bottle of wine I’d requested. He poured everyone at the table a glass and sat it in a bucket on ice.

“Congratulations!” he quipped. I gathered myself, standing to my full height and closing the few buttons on my jacket.

“Ms. Scott, excuse me for a moment.” I beat a hasty retreat, my long strides taking me past the bar to the men’s room. Inside I washed my hands and checked my reflection in the mirror. My mind was reeling from what just happened. She said yes. I smirked, my mood not even close to hearty. I composed myself. Shelby was the ultimate catch. Why wouldn’t he want to marry her? I convinced myself it was for the best. She deserved every moment of happiness in her life. Who was I to feel indifferent about it? I didn’t even congratulate her. Foolish. I was acting like a child, why? That was a question I didn’t need to answer. I had no right to want her. I was her friend; she confided in me about every part of her life.

I was to keep her safe and allow her to bare her soul without thoughts of stealing her heart. It was not my place, I couldn’t, I wouldn’t. I thought back to her twenty-first birthday. Something had taken over me that night. I don’t know if it were the alcoholic beverages that gave me the courage, but I’d stolen a kiss that night, and it was phenomenal. Nothing like I’d ever felt before or since. When she responded with such vigor, I’d convinced myself that we were good, and I wanted more of her, but the drive to her place gave me time to think.

None of my relationships thus far had lasted. Mostly because I couldn’t keep up with the demand of quality time. I was busy, all the time, and no woman wants a man who spends more time at work than with them. More than that, I’d shared countless stories about women I only bedded for my own pleasures. Simply because I saw no interest in pursuing a relationship. Our bond was as tight as a hogtie and I couldn’t very well offer her the love she deserved and then fail to deliver. The thought of breaking her heart was too monumental for me to pursue anything other than friendship with Shelby.

And even though I knew this and continued to tell myself it was for the best, I felt despondent. I had to find a way to rid myself of these emotions and move on. I inhaled and exhaled a deep breath and left the restroom. At the bar, I asked for another bottle of the rich wine the waiter had brought over to the table before my abrupt retreat.

“You wouldn’t happen to have a gift bow to attach to it?” I asked.

“Ah, yes.” The bartender disappeared for a moment and returned just ask quickly. He slid a ribbon onto the bottle and fastened it into a bow clipping the edges. “How’s that?”

“Excellent.” I made the purchase and strode from the bar a determined man. I pulled a smile back on my face as I neared. “Congratulations.” I held the bottle out to Alan and slapped him on the back. He stood and shook my hand.

“Thank you.” His smile was burgeoning.

I stepped to Shelby, taking notice of her downcast expression. I reached down and pulled her out of the seat, capturing her in a sealed embrace. “Congratulations,” I whispered, my lips hovering just slightly over her ear. I could feel a vibration run through her.

“You disappeared.” I could hear the question in her voice.

“Never fear, I’m back.”

She pulled back from me. “Is everything okay?”

“Of course. I want you and your fiancé to take this bottle of Tony’s finest wine and celebrate the night away.”

She smiled. “Are you coming along?”

I kept my face void of expression. “Why would I tag along, silly goose? This night is about you and him.” I released her and looked to Melanie. “We should get going so these two can enjoy their night.”

“We haven’t had a bite to eat yet,” she said.

“We’ll get something.” I looked to Alan then Shelby. “You guys have a great night.” We took our leave. I made sure to get Melanie something to eat before dropping her back at her vehicle. She was interested in more than just a five-page spread, but I wasn’t.

“Thank you for your generosity tonight, Mr. Cartwright,” Melanie said when we approached her car. “The night is young. Are you sure you’re ready to call it a night?”

I grinned. “I have to get an early start.” I placed a gentle kiss on the back of her hand and opened her driver side door. She crawled in. “Drive safely,” I said, closing the door and retreating to my vehicle.

I wouldn’t be getting much sleep tonight. In my garage, I switched gears, leaving my truck for my bike. I rode through Saint Louis for an hour and a half before returning to my penthouse. I strode through the rooms in darkness, tossing my keys on the counter. My eyes shifted around the cold, lonely place, and I settled on a bottle of scotch. My cell phone buzzed and my screen lit up. I check the Caller ID and found Shelby’s face on the screen. Why was she calling me? I decided not to answer the phone. I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to have a reasonable conversation with her.

I left the phone on the counter and went in search of a shower. I was determined to get over tonight no matter what it took. Maybe I should’ve invited Melanie over. It had been months since I’d been intimate with a woman. Mainly because the one night stands and brisk temptations were not enough to fulfill the desire I had for her. Shelby, Shelby, Shelby, I thought. A grumble moved through me. I opted instead to drink the night away, by myself. Maybe things would be better after I’d had a little sleep. It seemed like a good idea at the time, until I found myself flat on my back staring at the ceiling.

This night was going to be a miserable one.

book trailer

meet the author

Stephanie Nicole Norris is an author from Chattanooga Tennessee with a humble beginning. She was raised with six siblings by her mother Jessica Ward. Always being a lover of reading, during Stephanie’s teenage years her joy was running to the book mobile to read stories by R. L. Stine.

After becoming a young adult her love for romance sparked leaving her captivated by hero’s and heroines alike. With a big imagination and a creative heart Stephanie penned her first novel Trouble In Paradise and self published it in 2012. Her debut novel turned into a four book series full of romance, drama, and suspense. To date Stephanie has self published seven books which includes five full novels and two short stories. They can be found on most retailers sites. Stephanie is inspired by the likes of Donna Hill, Gwynne Forester, and more. She currently resides in Chattanooga Tennessee with her husband and one year old son.

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