PARADISE RULES from Berkley Heat October 6
She didn’t believe in paradise…
To most people Hawaii’s crystal blue shores are an inviting opportunity to escape reality. But for Lana Rodriguez who grew up there, the picture-perfect vacation getaway disguises the bitter truths she escaped years ago, and not without some emotional scars. Now a successful blues singer, Lana’s returning to Waikiki with a different outlook on the past, and a bold defiance when it comes to men, romance, and sex. This time, it’s on her terms.
Until she found it in him.
Local celebrity, businessman and island god, Jason Koa, may be every woman’s dream. For Lana, it’s not exactly love at first sight. Though their start is rocky, they can’t deny the passions they arouse in each other. Jason refuses to become Lana’s pawn. It’s time to show her who makes the rules on this island—and in the bedroom. But will Jason’s attempt at breaking Lana’s shell reveal secrets that neither are prepared to face, or will they allow themselves to get swept away by a tidal wave of desire?
He wore a pair of black pants and a white dress shirt, open at the collar. His beige jacket was perfectly tailored and highlighted his broad shoulders. He wore his dark brown hair longer in the front, but in the back it was neatly trimmed just above the collar of his shirt. The style perfectly set off his starkly masculine face. He held a paper sack. Her gaze lingered on his tanned, large hand gripping the package. He had great hands. Granted, everything about his body was amazing, but Lana had caught herself staring at his masculine, capable-looking hands frequently during her surf lesson.
Now she imagined what those hands would look like on her body—what they’d feel like.
“There’s been a mistake,” she said breathlessly. “I was expecting someone else.”
“You weren’t expecting someone from Hawaiian Nights escort service?”
She went still. Her heartbeat began to drum in her ears in the silence that followed. He slowly came toward her.
“What’s the matter, Lana? I assure you that I’m capable of filling the requirements for the job.”
She shivered at the impact of his low, raspy voice. “You work for Hawaiian Nights?”
He gave her a bland look and shrugged at what he must consider a statement of the obvious. “Why’s that so hard to believe?”
Lana couldn’t think of how to respond. He was certainly handsome enough for the job. He was more than sexy enough. In fact, he was too attractive. The effect he had on her made her uneasy.
“Did you know it was me you were meeting?”
She shook her head incredulously. “And knowing that, you actually agreed to come?” Her gaze lowered to his slow grin. His smile—that flash of white teeth against sun-bronzed skin—really ought to be outlawed for its mind-altering effects. Best not to think of what it did to her body. When he didn’t speak, just continued to stare at her with a small, insolent grin on his firm lips, she prodded, “We took an instant dislike to each other. Maybe you didn’t notice?”
“Bit hard not to notice a blizzard in Waikiki. The way I recall it, you took an instant dislike to me.”
“Didn’t like the experience much, did you? Well, there’s a first time for everything.”
He didn’t appear overly dismayed by her sarcastic remark. As a matter of fact, he seemed so damn comfortable, Lana suddenly felt as if she were the interloper in his space. Like the whole damn island was his, and she’d just had the temerity to place a toe on his sandy beach.
Which there was a tad of truth to, she had to admit. This island paradise would never be her home, whereas Jason Koa embodied it.
Those singular dark gray eyes flecked with gold lowered over her deliberately, lingering on the swells of her breasts in the V of the neckline—checking out the bounty that had just washed up on his sovereign shore. She wasn’t wearing a bra. She gritted her teeth when she felt her nipples tighten against the smooth, cool fabric of the dress. “We may not like talking to each other much, but you didn’t call Hawaiian Nights for a chat buddy, did you?”
Lana stiffened. “I called for a fuck buddy. Is that what you’re thinking, Mr. Koa?”
He surprised her by chuckling softly, the sound reminding her of something between a purr and a soft growl. His big male body looked entirely relaxed, making her hyperaware of her own anxious tension. “Christ, you’re a piece of work. Do you ever let up?”
She considered him with an icy stare. The humor vanished from his face. Because of the flecks in his gray eyes, his gaze usually reminded her of hot smoke, but Lana learned at that moment they could also go hard and cold. Her tension mounted. Okay, so he was much more than just the big, sinuous panther lazing around in the sun that she’d just compared him to in her mind.
“All right. If that’s the way you want to play it, fine. I might think you’re a mean, cold bitch, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t love to have you under me, in front of me . . . on your knees.”
He closed the distance between them. Lana stared up at him warily when he leaned down over her, close enough for her to inhale his spicy cologne and natural rich male scent. Warm fluid flooded her panties. Just like that—in an instant—her body had readied itself for him. The strength of her response stunned her.
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