Take Me if You Dare (Entangled Brazen)(11)

By: Nina Crespo

Long moments later, he lifted up his weight and brushed kisses to her throat. “I like your tat.” He traced his fingers over the design on her hip. “What does it mean?”

It took a few seconds for her brain to hear his compliment and then decipher the question. Greg had criticized her for having a tattoo, and she’d always made an effort to keep it covered when they were together. The memory of the day she’d chosen to ink her body came back, and she smiled softly. It was on her twenty-first birthday as part of a birthday dare. It was a road map for what she’d vowed she wanted to experience more of in her life.

“Truth, love, and transformation.”

As she heard herself say the words, a heady excitement bloomed at the thought of starting that journey once again.

Chapter Five

The next morning, Jasmine awoke to soft kisses along the nape of her neck. She kept her eyes closed as flashes from the past night wove into her consciousness along with the scent of freshly brewed heaven. Her mouth suddenly watered for caffeine and more of the gentle caresses that slowly coaxed her awake.

“I brought you coffee.” Ethan brushed another light kiss along her temple. “I’m going for a run, but I’ll be back in forty-five minutes to make you breakfast.”


The meaning of the word hit her like a slap of ice water, and she squeezed her eyes shut.

She was not that woman—the one who stayed too long, assumed too much, and got her feelings hurt after exposing herself to the harsh, unforgiving light of morning-after reality. Another hard lesson she’d learned from Greg. Still keeping her eyes closed, she buried her face into the pillow and inhaled the smell of laundry soap and the lingering musk of sex. Lots of really good, hot, sweaty, eyes-rolling-in-the-back-of-her-head sex.

He stroked over the curves of her butt, and her body automatically arched up for more of his touch. Stifling a moan, she mumbled vague words and pretended to be asleep.

He kissed her on the cheek near her ear. “I’ll wake you up when I get back.”

The mattress lifted with the loss of his weight, and a moment later, the bedroom door clicked shut. Jasmine shoved back the covers, fully awake, and scrambled out of the bed.

As she searched the floor for her bra and bikinis, her eyes strayed over to the steaming cup on the bedside table. She’d read in magazine once about the perfect guy being the one who knew just how to make your coffee. No matter how often she’d told Greg what she’d wanted, he’d never gotten it right.

She stared at the cup. How would it taste—too strong, too weak, too sweet?

Giving herself a mental shake, she focused on finding her underwear. What she and Ethan shared last night was the perfect encounter. Why ruin it by letting him come back to find her with bedhead and clumpy mascara eyes, with her bare butt in the air searching for her clothes?

She found her underwear and worked to untangle the lace that had suddenly turned into a set of intricate puzzles in her hands. She managed to put them on without ripping them to shreds, but panic seized her when she couldn’t find her dress. The memory of Ethan taking it off sped up her heart rate and her exit from the bedroom. Pausing on her way down the staircase, she stopped to listen for Mitch in the house. No soft snores, no squeaky beds, no movement from the kitchen, just the waves crashing in the ocean.

As she hurried down to the living room, a part of her felt like Cinderella’s vampy twin running from the prince’s bed at sunrise. She stumbled over her high-heeled sandals next to the gray couch and saw her dress lain out neatly over the cushioned arm near her purse.

Coffee, an offer of breakfast, and he’d taken care of her clothes? He wasn’t making this easy.

Dressing quickly in the dawn light, she grabbed her things, and worked to banish the memories of dinner, chocolate dessert, and ecstasy. She also prayed Ethan, or worse, Mitch, wouldn’t walk through the door.

He did bring you coffee…

As she passed by the stairs, guilt and a healthy dose of curiosity nudged at her conscience. Turning back around, she ran up the stairs into the bedroom and hurried over to the bedside table. She picked up the cup and blew away the steam before taking a careful sip.