The Game (Claiming Her, Book 2)

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Reviews:

Ms. Jameson creates a wonderful world contained on one mountain. A fire in the Smokies is nothing compared to the heat in this beautiful love story. The sex is sizzling. The love is a living and breathing emotion. A light and beautiful read with enough spice to entertain. – See more at: http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/BookReviews/fireinthesmokiesbook2bybeccajameson.html#.UmRiVBDZgvl
Ms. Jameson creates a wonderful world contained on one mountain. A fire in the Smokies is nothing compared to the heat in this beautiful love story. The sex is sizzling. The love is a living and breathing emotion. A light and beautiful read with enough spice to entertain. – See more at: http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/BookReviews/fireinthesmokiesbook2bybeccajameson.html#.UmRiVBDZgvl
The Game released January 19, 2016, with EverAfter Romance.

Blurb:

Her objective is to rein in the pieces of her fractured life… His objective is to rein her in and fix it all for her…

Cheyenne Decard has carried a smoldering torch for Riley Moreno for six months. She isn’t sure if she wants to ignite him with the flame and watch him burn for leaving her hanging that night or strip off her clothes and beg him to set her skin on fire. Either way, she isn’t prepared to face him at her company fundraiser.

Riley Moreno has been kicking himself for leaving Cheyenne high and dry that night six months ago. It wasn’t as if he’d had another option. She was way too innocent for his tastes, and she was the best friend of his buddy’s fiancée. Off limits. However, he hasn’t stopped thinking about what it would be like to dominate her delectable body.

Cheyenne’s life is finally coming together. She has a great marketing job she loves and has moved into her own apartment in downtown Atlanta. What she doesn’t need is to get mixed up with the man who has infiltrated her dreams and forced her to invest in far too many batteries.

Riley has baggage she’d rather not penetrate—namely his ex-fiancée, Christine. But that crazy woman has returned to wreak havoc in Riley’s life and all those who get in her path. She’s moved to Atlanta, taken a job, and made it her mission to win Riley back into her good graces.

Cheyenne is going to need some thick skin and a spine made of steel if she wants to make things work with Riley and keep her sanity at the same time. Her entire life is falling apart around the seams while she grasps at thin tendrils of sanity.

Riley has a tough decision to make. Should he risk going behind Cheyenne’s back to stop his ex from ruining his tenuous new relationship? And will his efforts prove futile when Cheyenne finds out he ignored her pleas to let her handle things on her own?

Excerpt:

Riley set his elbows on the table and leaned toward me. His gaze never left mine, not even to glance around the bar.

Like the night I’d met him, his attention was riveted on me. No one else existed.

My heart pounded. The sensation was both heady and disconcerting. When I was with him, he was all mine. He focused one hundred percent on what I had to say.

As flattering as his attention was, I wasn’t here for small talk. I needed answers. I could not allow this man to toy with my heart. I simply wasn’t built for brief trysts. I would fall for him; and he would hurt me.

“Why are we doing this exactly?”

“Having a drink?”

I narrowed my gaze. “Having anything.”

Riley’s shoulders slumped. “I wanted to apologize. I owe you that much.”

“You did apologize. Monday. And I accepted. And you don’t owe me.” I didn’t falter from my stance. My guard was up high. Insurmountably high. My traitorous body might have had other ideas, but my brain was smart enough to know I needed to keep my distance from this man.

Why was he torturing me?

Riley grabbed my hand to hold it against the table top. He stared down at my fingers and rubbed them again with his infuriatingly tantalizing thumb.

I tugged against his grip, just as I had in the car, and Riley held steady again also.

“Your skin is so soft.” He lifted his face. “Hell, all of you is soft.”

“I’ve never considered myself soft.”

He smiled broader. “Yeah. I can see that.”

The waitress returned with a bottle of white wine. She removed the cork and poured a splash into one glass.

Riley released my hand to taste the wine, and I immediately tucked both hands in my lap. He nodded at the waitress as she settled an ice tub on the table to keep the wine chilled.

When he nodded at her, she filled both our glasses and then walked away.

He leaned forward, elbows on the table, and held my gaze. His face was unreadable. Serious. His eyes bore into me, slightly squinted. His lips were a straight line.

I fought the urge to squirm. The man was so unbelievably sexy, and his entire attention was once again focused on me as if we were alone instead of sitting in a noisy, crowded bar. My emotions were all over the place. It was impossible to ignore the magnetic pull he had on me when I was with him. And I didn’t want to feel that tug.
I took a sip of the chardonnay and nearly moaned. It was that good. A hint of citrus teased my taste buds. Riley knew his wine.

This man would hurt me.

If I let my guard down, I’d be sorry. And I couldn’t avoid letting my guard down. He stripped it away with just a look. I couldn’t stop him. The only way to ensure I wouldn’t get hurt would be to keep my distance.

I knew I shouldn’t have agreed to this night out. And really, I hadn’t agreed. He’d strong-armed me.
If this thing between us were normal, I would relax and let it progress naturally. He obviously liked me. That wasn’t the problem. The trouble was we weren’t in the same circles. We didn’t have enough in common.

Just because Amy had pulled it off with Cade didn’t mean the rest of us normal, everyday, middle-class ladies could snag us a millionaire and live happily ever after. It didn’t work that way.
I could date him. I could even sleep with him. But I knew it couldn’t go further. And under normal circumstances, that would be fine. I was single. Unattached.

But not with Riley.

I’d known from the moment I first laid eyes on him that my feelings for him wouldn’t be controllable. He had a pull on me that drew me to lean his direction, and I needed to rein it in.
I did not want him to know how I felt. Ever.
I didn’t want anyone to know.

Just sitting across from him was dangerous. And if I’d had any doubt, all I needed to do was remind myself of the moments I’d seen him yesterday and the drive over here in the car.

Yeah.

I was screwed.

“I can’t do this, Riley.” I drank more wine, enjoying the fruity taste immensely. Why did the man have to be such a wine connoisseur on top of everything else?

He sighed. “I wasn’t in a good place last time we met.”

“I know. Amy told me about your fiancée and the breakup. I get that. But this isn’t about you, Riley. This is about me. I can’t do this.”

His brow furrowed. “What? Go out for a drink?”

“Go out for an anything. With you. This is a bad idea.”

He pursed his lips for a moment and then spoke again. “I was a coward that night we met. My actions were stupid. We had a great time together. I was an asshole.”

“And I said I forgive you. Now you need to let me go.”

“What if I don’t want to let you go?”

“You don’t have a choice. I’m telling you. I. Can’t. Do. This.” I enunciated each word.

He ignored me, shaking off my words as if they were inconsequential. “I haven’t been able to get you out of my head since that night.” He reached forward with one hand to stroke the tips of his fingers across my cheek.

I drew back out of his reach, but not fast enough.
He let his hand fall to the table. It lay too close to me. I could still feel his touch on my face, the way he’d stroked my knuckles, the way he’d held my hands together firmly in the car.

With every second, I was falling. Too hard. It both strengthened my resolve and made me melt. His gaze bore into my soul, digging a hole I would never be able to escape. “Riley, we’re from two different worlds. I would never be able to run in your circles.”

“Cade and Amy are no different. They’re making it work.”

“Cade and Amy have been through the roughest times of anyone I’ve ever met. Hell, she left town and changed her name to get away from him. Not exactly what I’m looking for in a relationship.”

“But they’re fine now. Better than fine. They’re the strongest couple I know. Who’s to say we can’t do the same thing?” He held up a hand. “Not that I mean to get ahead of myself. I’m just suggesting you date me. Let me take you out. Movies. Dinner. We have a connection. I want to explore it. I’m not asking for forever. I’m just asking for now.”

“And that’s the problem, Riley.” I lowered my voice. I was deadly serious. I needed to make myself clear, and the only way I knew to do it was to be honest.

Not that he had been honest about why he left me at the engagement party, but this wasn’t about him.

“I’m not following,” he said.

I downed the rest of my glass and reached for the bottle.

Riley beat me to it, grabbing the chardonnay and filling my glass. “Talk to me.”

I blinked, taking another fortifying sip. “Since you’re so persistent, let me spell it out for you.” I was putting myself out there. I didn’t care. I needed him to understand and respect my boundaries. “I can’t do casual with you. I’m irrationally attracted to you. You’ll hurt me. And you’ll ruin me for other men.”

There. I said it. The most awkward conversation of my life. Now I just needed him to let me go.