Sat
Oct 7 2017 12:04pm

Shayla Black Excerpt: Misadventures of a Backup Bride

Shayla Black

Misadventures of a Backup Bride by Shayla Black

An Overnight Billionaire…

When Carson Frost inherits a confectionary that rakes in billions but is too cash-strapped to last another sixty days, he agrees to take a loan from his late father’s rival. There are two catches: Carson has to sign over a permanent stake in the company, and marry the man’s daughter.

Concocts a Fake Bride…

Two weeks before the wedding, he gets cold feet and claims he’s in love with someone else. The investor says he’ll still hand over the cash if Carson takes a stroll down the aisle—with the woman who owns his heart. Since he isn’t even dating anyone, Carson panics. Where is he going to find a bride willing to jilt him at the altar on such short notice?

And Whips Up a Little Love.

Ella Hope is an actress happy for any paying gig, but jilting a hottie in public isn’t what she had in mind. Still, she needs rent, and he’s in a bind. How hard can it be? While playing at matrimony, suddenly their intimacy isn’t so fake. Ella can’t help but fantasize that Carson is her groom and they will live happily ever after. But once his company is safe, will he want her anymore?

Get a sneak peek at Shayla Black's Misadventures of a Backup Bride (available October 17, 2017) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

ELLA

“That was high-handed,” I remark, forcing a pleasant expression.

“This is my show, sweetheart. My rules.” He pins my hand down to the table and gives it a squeeze. “You don’t need to lose weight, by the way.”

“Your opinion isn’t the only one that matters.”

“While you’re working for me, it is. I like every bit of you exactly the way you are. In fact, if it weren’t for our agreement and this table, I would be more than happy to come over there and show you precisely how much you turn me on. And for the record, casting directors who don’t agree with me are idiots. You’re beautiful.”

I sit back and blink. He really just said that. Sneaky bastard. It’s damn hard to be mad at a man when he’s dishing out compliments. I could maintain my irritation when I simply thought he wanted to exert his control and show me who’s boss. But he figured out why I was insistent, not to mention self-conscious, and flat-out told me he wants me. I don’t have a defense now.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t intend to get even. After all, if he’s feeding me scrumptious morsels that I’m going to spend hours in the gym working off, I’m going to give him a little torment in return.

“Am I?” I slip out of my shoe and slide my foot up and down his calf, sending him a come-hither stare that would do Marilyn Monroe proud.

With the wineglass halfway to his lips, he freezes. “Are you teasing me, Ella?”

I bat my lashes. “Why would I ever do a thing like that?”

“If you wanted a rise out of me”—he drags in a deep breath and glances down to his crotch—“you’ve got it.”

That should not make me happy. I shouldn’t care one bit whether his penis is saluting me. But I do. Why bother lying to myself? This man has big everything—feet, hands, jaw, chest. I’ll bet he’s big all over, and I have to repress a shiver just thinking about it.

Maybe I should stop toying with Carson, cease playing a dangerous game that can’t lead anywhere except to bed. Can I really take our supposedly pretend flirtation to places I said I wouldn’t go during our negotiation, then back away from the seemingly inevitable later?

Not really…but the responsible reply is not what comes out of my mouth.

“What if I don’t believe you?” I ask him in a breathy voice, then lick my bottom lip for good measure.

Carson never takes his eyes off me. Oh, his gaze follows my tongue, then dips down to the shadowy opening of my shirt. But he merely continues to caress a thumb over the back of my hand and leans back slightly. “You don’t want to take my word for it?”

I could but…suddenly, I know exactly how to make his torment so much worse. I slide my foot up his leg again, dragging my toe across his thigh. “No. I’m a girl who likes hard proof.” My taunt has barely left my mouth when I settle my sole over something so steely and massive I do a double take and stare at him as if I can’t comprehend what I feel. “Oh, my god. Seriously?”

He sends me another crooked smile as if he’s mighty pleased that he could shock me. “Every inch of that is for you, and if you don’t get your foot off of me now, I’m going to forget we have a bargain and that I’m a gentleman.”

His words and hot stare grip my insides and squeeze until I’m breathless. What do I do? Carson strikes me as the sort of man who means every word he says. If I’m not careful, I’ll find myself in over my head. After all, I’m sure he has far more experience than me.

That’s all true…and yet I can’t seem to resist teasing him.

“We’re in public with a table between us.” I wriggle my toes against his cock. “You can’t stop me.”

He sucks in a bracing breath, anchoring a fist on the gleaming wood. His knuckles turn white. “First, who says I want to stop you? Second, you should understand that if you continue, you’re opening yourself to merciless retribution the moment we’re alone.”

Promise? “That wasn’t in our agreement.”

“Neither was this.” He glances at my toes fluttering all over his cock.

I smile. “If it’s bothering you that much, I can stop.”

Carson unfolds his napkin, drops it over his lap, and seemingly smooths it with his hands. But beneath the cloth he grabs my ankle, which feels completely enveloped in his huge hands, and pulls me against his hard ridge. “If you move your foot an inch before I tell you to, I will torment the hell out of you before we leave this restaurant.”

I’m tempted to test him, just to see what he’ll really do. Of course it’s not smart, but I’m enjoying this way too much to stop now. “Oh? How will you do that?”

“I have a theory.” His hands tighten on my arch and heel before he slides my sole over his erection again, all but baring his teeth in pleasure at the friction. Then slowly, he skates his palm over the ball and up my toes before lifting his fingers away to wrap around his wineglass. He takes a gulp.

“What?”

“That little girls like you never think of all the underhanded ways a man like me can repay her for this kind of agony. But I could, quite simply. All I have to do is this.”

He crooks a finger and drops it under the table to drag it softly and slowly up my foot from heel to toe. He lingers over the arch, agitating the nerves there with a barely there scrape. I jolt at the sensation, trying to jerk my foot away and doing my best not to gape because Shaw’s friends are watching our every move.

“Carson, don’t,” I whisper. “I’m ticklish.”

“Then I guessed right.” And his smile looks smug.

“If you don’t quit, I’m going to giggle.” I’m already biting my lip to hold my startled laugh in. “We’re being watched as we speak.”

“You should have thought of that. Now you have to live with the consequences until dinner arrives. But that’s not the only one.”

Before I can protest, he changes tactics, gripping my foot and massaging it thoroughly—arch, ball, toes—up, then back down again until I’m melting. I like this better than his tickling. Way better.

***
Copyright © 2017 by Shayla Black.
***
Learn more about or order a copy of Misadventures of a Backup Bride by Shayla Black, available October 17, 2017:

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Shayla Black is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than fifty novels. For nearly twenty years, she’s written contemporary, erotic, paranormal, and historical romances via traditional, independent, foreign, and audio publishers. Her books have sold millions of copies and been published in a dozen languages.

Raised an only child, Shayla occupied herself with lots of daydreaming, much to the chagrin of her teachers. In college, she found her love for reading and realized that she could have a career publishing the stories spinning in her imagination. Though she graduated with a degree in Marketing/Advertising and embarked on a stint in corporate America to pay the bills, her heart has always been with her characters. She’s thrilled that she’s been living her dream as a full-time author for the past eight years.

Shayla currently lives in North Texas with her wonderfully supportive husband, her teenage daughter, and two spoiled tabbies. In her “free” time, she enjoys reality TV, reading, and listening to an eclectic blend of music.

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