Wicked Wednesday’s is hosted by Tales with Bite. This is a blog hop geared towards book lovers aged 18+ with the objective to find and visit other blogs that share the same interest as you... a love for Hot Reads!
From Lora Leigh's hunks in uniforms to Suzanne Brockmann's edgy heroes, readers love men of action, and "Men on Fire" provides plenty, courtesy of three of the genre's most talented authors.
Excerpt:[At the Raining Men bachelor auction, where Jade wanted to acquire a nice conservative guy to be her faux fiancé, her two girlfriends instead bought her the man she was drooling over, firefighter Quinn O'Malley.]
Quinn dished up the meal and sat across from me. "Okay. Why did you buy me, Jade? And why get your friend to bid for you?"
I took a quick gulp of wine for courage. "I need you to pretend to be my fiancé."
He gaped, then burst out laughing. "Seriously?"
"I need a fiancé to take to two or three work events. And I asked Kimberly to bid because my boss's wife was at the auction." He was still chuckling. "I'm glad you find this so amusing."
"Well, it's pretty weird." He picked up his fork. "Could've been worse, though. Know what my buds got bought for?"
"The two other firefighters? What?"
"One has to rent a tux and escort a woman to the opera. And he's a hockey guy."
Cautiously I tasted the food. Wow, the man really could cook. "This is wonderful. Thank you. How about your other friend?"
"Salsa lessons. She wants to take salsa lessons, and needs a partner." "That could be fun."
"She weighs a couple hundred pounds and it's definitely not muscle."
"It's wrong to discriminate against someone because they're a little heavy." I thought about my write-off date, pot-bellied Peter, and felt like a hypocrite.
"See if you say that when it's your toes she's tromping on."
"I thought you firefighters were supposed to be tough."
He chuckled and refilled our wine glasses. "Yeah, my buds'll suck it up. The children's wing's a good cause. We see kids injured every day, and the facility's really needed. When we volunteered, we knew we might get stuck with some weird stuff."
What generous men, Quinn and his friends. "Please don't tell them about our arrangement. It has to be a secret. Tell them . . . I got you to cook me dinner."
"They'll think I got off easy." He ran his fingers lightly over the back of my hand. "And I did." He stroked up my bare forearm, igniting sparks. His tone altered, took on that husky, seductive note. "It's not exactly a hardship, being with you, Jade." The heat in his dark eyes matched up with his voice, like sinfully rich and tempting dark chocolate.
As I'd figured, he was a player. All the same, his touch, his voice, those sexy eyes were so tempting that I said, "You either, Quinn," before I realized what I was doing.
He gave a satisfied grin. "If we're engaged, we need to get to know each other."
Right. Business. The man was so distracting, it was hard to keep focused. "I've typed up a biography you can study. And I'll need to know things about you, the things a fiancée would know."
His eyes danced. "She'd know if I'm a good kisser."
She'd know if I'm a good kisser? "I . . . uh . . ." I gaped at Quinn.
"And I am. But you shouldn't take my word on it. You need to check it out yourself."
A horrible suspicion crossed my mind. "I didn't buy you for sex."
He chuckled. "I know. I'm just saying, it'll be easier to pretend we're engaged if we've kissed." His lips said "kissed" but his dark, gleaming eyes suggested a whole lot more.
I jumped up and crossed the kitchen, needing distance. Yeah, I'd bet he was a good kisser. My body lusted to find out. But kissing Quinn â€“ a kiss that, given the gleam in his eyes and my own arousal, could easily go further â€“ didn't fit anywhere in my game plan.
Either game plan.
I had two goals, each with a distinct strategy. One was short term and work-oriented: to find a faux fiancé and win the promotion on my merits, not my marital status. The other was long term: to find my Prince Charming, get engaged and married for real, and live happily ever after. Two separate boxes on my "to do list," and I was eager to put tick-marks in both.
Quinn definitely didn't fit box number two, yet his body language said he didn't want to stick within the confines of box number one. Would it be crazy to create a third box, just for him? A box that had nothing to do with long term, and everything to do with satisfying the overpowering sexual hunger he kindled in me?
"D'you agonize this way over every decision?" He cocked an eyebrow, rose, and strode determinedly toward me.
"No." I evaded him, darting back to the table to gather plates. "Well, yes, if it's important." I walked to the counter and turned, the plates in front of me as a barrier. I needed to think clearly, and when he touched me, I couldn't.
"Man, woman, attraction. It's not that complicated."
"Isn't that what Tarzan said to Jane?" But I wasn't in a jungle inhabited by a sole male, and I'd set my priorities. "I can't waste time on a relationship that isn't going anywhere." That had been my mistake in the past.