By: Leslie Kelly

“Were yours better than theirs?”

Snorting and rolling her eyes, she said, “Well, duh. Angry Beavers beats Darkwing Duck or Animaniacs any day.”

He had just taken another sip of his drink but her response made him swallow the wrong way, and he had to cough into his fist, half laughing, half groaning. When he could speak again, he asked, “Your parents let their seven-year-old daughter wear Angry Beavers panties?”

“Caught that, didja?” she replied with a snicker. “They worked a lot, raising six kids, five of them strapping, athletic, eating-them-out-of-house-and-home boys.”

Ouch. Five brothers. He wondered where she fell in the Callahan family lineup.

She continued. “Because of my parents’ work schedules, my oldest brother had to take me back-to-school shopping that year. He didn’t want to be caught by any of his high school friends in the little girl’s department at the mall, so I had free rein when it came to choosing panties. Heh. But hey, better than Ren and Stimpy, right?”

“I don’t know, ‘happy-happy, joy-joy’ seems like a good underwear motto.”

“Speaking from experience?”

“I don’t think they make Ren and Stimpy drawers in my size.”

“Bummer. That would be a wicked-good theme song to have in your pants at all times.”

They laughed together, and Damien found himself relaxing more than he had in ages. Strange, considering the fact that he was sitting here, drinking gin and tonics, with a gorgeous woman he wanted to take to bed, and they were talking about childhood cartoons. He hadn’t had a completely normal childhood, given his family’s wealth, but he’d enjoyed the occasional after-school Nickelodeon binge, and remembered fighting with his sisters over who got to watch what.

Funny that this new stranger made him remember those days, so far in his past he’d nearly forgotten about them. He couldn’t recall the last time he’d had a conversation like this. Lately, all he talked about was business when at work and shopping and finances when with his family. He avoided relationships, knowing he wasn’t cut out for them, but, on occasion, he did talk sex with women who expected nothing more from him.

This one had him talking cartoons.

He suddenly realized he liked her. Quite a lot. Not just because she was strong and independent after going through hell. Not just because she made him laugh. It was also because he suddenly realized she’d done what she’d set out to do. She’d distracted him from the issue of those two buttons and that tumbling sea of hair. Clever girl.

“So, Wicked Viv—”

“Vixen Viv,” she interrupted.

“Even better. So, Vixen, was Sister Margaret right about your wickedness? Are you planning to seduce me?” he asked, not letting her evade the subject this time.

He kept his eyes focused directly on hers, so he saw the way they flared. She licked her lips, and a faint pink tinge rose in her cheeks. He knew she wasn’t blushing; that wasn’t embarrassment or modesty.

It was heat.

And he had his answer.

“Are you saying you would have to be seduced?” she finally asked.

“No, I’m not saying that at all.”

Seduction implied having to be coerced or convinced to do something. That wouldn’t be the case with Viv. He’d been attracted to her at first sight, and his interest had heightened with every passing minute.

It wouldn’t take a seduction for him to ask her to come up to his suite on the top floor of this hotel. How had she put it—he could ask her to join him for a drink, and then dinner, and then breakfast. She most definitely wouldn’t have to be the one doing the seducing. All she had to do was say yes.

“Viv, would you—”

She cut him off. “Yes.”

He smiled. So did she.

And that was that.


VIV HADN’T BEEN sure how to answer his question about her seductive intentions. With Damien Black’s unfinished invitation, however, she hadn’t needed to. What was happening between them was on both their heads...and would soon, hopefully, be on their bodies.

No, this was not a seduction. This was all about instant connection, shared desire and pure heat. It also had something to do with timing. She was in the right frame of mind to have a wild, one-night fling, and he was the right man—oh, Lord, he was right in all the best ways—in the right place, to make it happen.

That was why she’d cut him off, not even needing to hear the rest of his question. The answer was yes to anything he cared to propose.