Apr 18 2017 12:00pm
Leisa Rayven Excerpt & Cover Reveal: Mister Romance
Max Riley is the man of your dreams. Or at least he will be, for a price.
As his alter-ego Mister Romance, Max is a drop-dead gorgeous escort who makes romantic fantasies come to life. No sex, just swoon-worthy dates to die for, and the cream of New York's socialites can't get enough. Whether they want a dominating billionaire, bad boy with a heart of gold, hot geek, sexy biker, or best friend who loves them from afar, Max can make it all happen, but he's careful to keep his real identity a secret.
Enter investigative journalist Eden Tate. Having caught wind of the urban legend of Mister Romance from a lovestruck client, Eden is determined to publish a scathing expose on Max and his ability to swindle lonely society women out of their fortunes.
Desperate to protect his anonymity and his clients, Max challenges Eden to give him three dates. If she doesn't fall in love with him, she can run her story with his blessing. If she succumbs to his charms, the story dies.
Cynical Eden has no doubt she can resist his fake romance personas, but when the real Max admits he’s falling for her, she has to decide if the professional liar is telling the truth, or if the passionate man with the mysterious past is just one more character designed to con her out of her career-making story.
Get a sneak peek at Leisa Rayven's Mister Romance (available April 30, 2017) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.
I wipe my hands on my napkin and grab my wine glass. “So, Mr. Riley, how do these ‘dates’ of yours work?”
“Well, before I craft an experience for a client, I need to understand them as a person. Then, I choose the scenario I think will be most effective. Most of my dates involve a fantasy element.”
“Sometimes. And more extreme situations than they’d usually find themselves in.”
“Will you do that for my dates?”
“Perhaps. I haven’t planned your dates yet. Why? Are you eager to get started?”
“Not really. Just trying to understand what to expect. To be honest, if I can get through them without laughing, I’ll be impressed.”
He smirks. “I assure you, the only reason you’ll laugh on a date with me is if I tell a joke.”
He distributes more food between us, and I find myself watching as he eats. The way the muscles in his jaw move are fascinating.
“So,” I say, to distract myself from staring. “How far do things go on these dates?”
He wipes his mouth with his napkin and picks up his wine glass. “Not far. Talking, touching, nothing too explicit. If it goes well, there might be light intimate contact.”
“What does that entail?”
I’m shocked when he cups my face, then grazes a thumb across my cheek and down to my mouth.
“Something like this,” he says quietly. I stop breathing as he continues to stroke my cheek. When he gazes into my eyes, he seems to glaze over for a few seconds, then he blinks and clears his throat. “It depends on the situation.” He pulls back and looks away.
“Are women allowed to touch you back?”
“Within reason. Areas not covered by underwear are fine.”
“And if they go for the underwear areas?”
“The date is terminated and the client is blacklisted.”
He pours us both more wine. “I’m not a whore, Miss Tate.”
“So you’ve never had sex with a client?”
“Have you ever wanted to?”
He pauses for a moment, then says, “Next question.”
“Okay, so the dates you’ve just described are five grand. Is that all you offer? Or can ladies bribe you for more?”
“If you’re talking sex, then no. Let me say it once more so you don’t get confused.” He picks up my recording device and holds it to his mouth. “I do not have sex for money.” He puts the device back down. “However, if ladies would like something more intense, they can pay for a more immersive experience.”
“Oh, so you take them scuba diving?”
He stares at me, unimpressed. I drop my smile and sip my wine. “Please, continue.”
“Tier two involves both parties participating in the role play. It’s popular with ladies who want to escape their everyday lives.”
“Will you do that with me?”
“I’d like to, yes.”
“I think you’d gain a lot from stepping outside yourself.”
I’m really starting to get sick of him talking like I’m a patient and he’s a doctor. “You barely know me, and yet you think you know what’s good for me?”
He looks down and runs his forefinger over the table cloth next to my hand. “This is what I know, Miss Tate. Everyone wants to feel special and loved. We’d all like to believe there’s such a thing as a happy ever after, even if we don’t think we’ll ever achieve it. In a way, we crave someone to save us from ourselves.”
I’m tempted to move my hand, but that would be giving him a small victory. “I don’t. I’m happy the way I am. And what’s more, the whole concept of women needing a white knight is ridiculous.”
He looks over at me. “I don’t think women need white knights. However, I think some of us, men and women, don’t recognize what the hell it is we need until it’s standing right in front of us. And even then, we don’t want to admit we need it because confessing that sort of thing makes us feel weak.”
I want to refute him, but I’ve never been in love, so I have no idea if he speaks the truth. What I do know is that I have disdain for women who fall apart over men. Surely they’re not stupid. They’ve heard the songs and seen the movies. If you buy a ticket on the Love Express, then that comes with compulsory stops at Painville, The Isle of Co-Dependence, and Betrayal Central, so why get onboard in the first place?
When I don’t contradict Max, he gives me another of those goddamn enigmatic smiles.
It’s off-putting how confident he is. I’m used to men who are as attractive as he is being egotistical dicks, but this is something else. He possesses a self-assuredness that has nothing to do with what he looks like, and everything to do with who he is. Or at least, who he believes himself to be.
As if he senses my thoughts, the corners of his lips curl. I have a horrifying urge to lean across the table to see if those lips taste as good as they look, but I quickly push it away.
As I try to get back on topic, I set my face in an expression of barely suppressed boredom. “Okay, so you don’t have sex with clients. Why not?”
“Sex is for the body. Romance is for the soul.”
“Nice catch phrase. You should sell T-shirts. What the hell does it mean?”
That smirk is still there. I should find it obnoxious because I’m against smirking in general, but on him, it works.
“Sex complicates things that should be kept simple,” he says. “I can make my clients feel more special if mutual attraction doesn’t escalate into the bedroom.”
“And how do you do that?”
“Never underestimate the power of a good kiss.”
I try to disguise my intense skepticism. “A kiss? You’re kidding, right?”
“Not at all. Haven’t you ever had a truly, life-altering kiss?”
“Not one that could compete with a good hard fuck, no.”
He leans forward and studies me, and I struggle to maintain my composure under the intensity of his green eyes.
“A lot of men think the way you do,” he says quietly. “And that’s why so many of them take their women for granted. Guys see kissing as the first rung on the ladder to sex. Kiss, grope, strip, penetrate. It’s a straight line for them. But kissing is most powerful when it’s a circle. A long, meandering journey of sensation.”
God, his voice. His stupidly resonant, sexy-as-hell voice.
He leans forward further, too close for me to ignore how his body sets mine on high alert. I lean back to compensate, but his expression tells me he knows exactly what I’m doing.
“Miss Tate, you might think that a kiss is nothing special, but kissing a woman with no intention of it leading to something else? That’s how you discover the meaning of sensuality. I can find an ocean of pleasure in every inhale and moan; every soft, slow sweep of her tongue. The taste of her lips. The shape of her face beneath my hands. The way her body curves into mine as she stops thinking and finally gives herself over to how she feels.” His voice is barely above a whisper, but every word vibrates through my skin and into my bones.
He gazes at my mouth with open fascination for several long seconds before coming back to my eyes. “You can live and die within the lifetime of a decent kiss, Miss Tate. Trust me on that.”
He seems to wait for my reaction, but I’m so mesmerized, all I can manage is, “Uh huh.”
“You have to understand that most of the ladies who engage my services haven’t been kissed properly in years. Their partners or husbands only kiss them to initiate sex, and they’ve forgotten how to make their women feel loved instead of merely wanted.”
I squirm under his scrutiny, hot and viciously aroused. “I don’t see the difference.”
He goes back to staring at my mouth, and every single trace of his smile has vanished. “Maybe one night I’ll kiss you properly to help you understand.”
Copyright © 2017 by Leisa Rayven.
Learn more about or order a copy of Mister Romance by Leisa Rayven, available April 30, 2017:
Writing has always been a passion for Leisa, and even though she originally intended to be an actress, it wasn’t long into her time at drama school that she began writing plays.